• The Surry Arts Council remains involved in preserving and promoting Surry County old-time music. Weekly jam sessions and the WPAQ Merry-Go-Round, old-time dances, concerts, the annual Tommy Jarrell Festival, old-time youth competitions, an old-time workshop at the Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention, and weekly free lessons for youth are a few of the Surry Arts Council's ongoing programs that are keeping our Surry County music heritage alive.


    Old-Time Music Heritage Hall
    Historic Earle Theatre
    142 N. Main Street ~ Mount Airy

    Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Saturday, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
    Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    Self-guided tours of the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall are $8.00 or $6.00 for ages 12 and under and include admission to the Andy Griffith Museum. Audio Guides are an additional $2.00.


    WPAQ Merry-Go-Round at the Historic Earle Theatre
    Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    Admission $8 (includes admission to Andy Griffith Museum) or Surry Arts Council 2018 Annual Pass. Please call 336.786.7998 for more details.

    The WPAQ Merry-Go-Round can be heard live on WPAQ 740 AM or streaming online. The live show features two bands each week. Bands are listed on the Historic Earle Theatre website.

    The WPAQ Merry-Go-Round is the second longest continuously running live radio broadcast in the nation (The Grand Ole Opry is the longest running). Radio station WPAQ, 740 AM, produces this weekly live broadcast of local, regional and national performers from inside the Historic Earle Theatre. The Merry-Go-Round has run weekly since February 2, 1948. Among the regional and national names who played on it are Tommy Jarrell, Benton Flippen, the Carter Family, Bill and Charlie Monroe, Grandpa Jones, Ralph Stanley, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and Mac Wiseman. On April 5, 2007, WPAQ began streaming over the internet.

  • Free Youth Old-Time Dance Lessons
    First Thursday
    4:30 p.m.

    Free Youth Fiddle and Guitar Lessons
    Every Thursday
    5:30 p.m. Fiddle
    6:15 p.m. Guitar

    Award-winning musician and dancer Marsha Todd instructs dance and award-winning musician and teacher Jim Vipperman is the instrument instructor. Drop by for a hands-on experience if you are visiting or bring your child weekly for lessons. Instruments are provided. Parents are welcome to stay and participate. This project is sponsored in part by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

  • Free Jam Session
    Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.

    Local and visiting musicians are welcome. Come play on stage or in a circle on part of the dance floor. Music ranges from bluegrass and old-time to gospel and country. Traditional music enthusiasts and dancers are welcome.

    Musicians can be found jamming outside the Earle when the weather permits. Musicians take turns playing, singing, and backing up others. Many come just to sit in the auditorium and listen and tap their feet – or dance on the wooden floor in front of the stage.

    This weekly program is supported in part by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.


    Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention

    Veterans Memorial Park in Mount Airy
    Always the First Weekend in June

    Veterans Memorial Park, Inc. works with the Surry Arts Council to provide annual dance and old-time workshops during the Fiddlers Convention. These workshops are sponsored in part by a Grassroots grant from the Grassroots program of the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

  • Tommy Jarrell Festival

    Weekend in Late February/Early March

    Tommy Jarrell, who played the old-time fiddle, was raised in the Round Peak community of Surry County. To celebrate his life and music, the Tommy Jarrell Festival was created in 2002 to commemorate this accomplished musician. A youth competition, dance, concert and workshops are held.

    Visit the Tommy Jarrell Festival page for more details.

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