GUEST EDITORIAL: What you're paying for

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Erynn Marshall is program manager for the Blue Ridge Music Center near Galax

This is in response to a person who stated that the Blue Ridge Music Center’s concerts are too expensive.
Many shows at the Blue Ridge Music Center are free. There is free music seven days a week during Mid-Day Mountain Music programs in the afternoons.
Wonderful local musicians volunteer to provide this service because they are generous with their time and talents, and support the center.
We have several popular, free performance talks on regional music in our small theater this summer and fall.
Best of all, this year is the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Events during the Sept. 10-12 weekend are free, including concerts by the Sierra Hull Band, the Churchmen, Josh Goforth and Laura Boosinger, the gala concert featuring Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys and more!
Concerts are managed by the National Council for the Traditional Arts, a non-profit organization. The NCTA must raise all programming funds: money to pay concert performers, technical staff, travel, lodging, hospitality, marketing, promotion, insurance and other costs.
Concerts with a ticket price help support the music center’s free shows. Our ticket prices are kept as low as possible, and are considerably lower than elsewhere. A ticket for the upcoming Tony Rice show costs 43 percent less than a ticket for the same show in Greensboro, N.C.
Fortunately, we receive support from local residents, visitors from all around the world and the artists who perform at BRMC. Some visitors donate or show their support by attending concerts, which helps keep our programs going in these tough economic times. Concert attendance in 2009 increased overall by 35 percent.
The center tries to have a little something for everyone and strives to support and celebrate the region’s rich musical traditions and area musicians who make the Blue Ridge such a special place.
We are fortunate to have such a facility like the Blue Ridge Music Center here. I have not seen another like it anywhere in the world.