About Us

The "Us" is actually a 'Me".

I'm Don Talley, the founder and curator of the WORTH THE DRIVE website and Facebook page.
I'm 63 years old and live in Black Mountain NC (just east of Asheville)
I don't play music .... but I am passionate about Bluegrass and Old-Time Music.
( Note: I do confess to messin around with the clawhammer banjo back in the 80s).

The traditional music of southern Appalachia is near and dear to my heart and has been for a number of years.

y love affair with this music began while I was still in high school.
I grew up in the small town of Greer in Greenville County South Carolina.
None of my family played traditional music.

My mom subscribed to the Columbia Record Club. As a result, I was exposed to a wide variety of music as a young child. We were sent new records every month. Some of it was pop music of the 50's and 60's, some of it was classical, some of it was Broadway soundtracks.

One of the records she received was called All-Star Hootenanny. It included a variety of music including songs by Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, The Brothers Four, Carolyn Hester. It also included a song called Worried Man Blues by Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and Mother Maybelle Carter.

I didn't know what this music was, but I knew I liked it.

While in high school, my father told me he wanted me to go with him to hear some music. My dad and I got along fine, but he didn't do much together other than yardwork. So I was glad to go with him. We drove out in the country to a small school auditorium in rural northern Greenville County SC. When we got there and the band took the stage, I heard music unlike anything I'd heard before. If was probably the first time I'd seen a banjo and fiddle in person.
The band was Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys.
It lit a spark.

A year later, Dad took me to a small one-afternoon festival out in a cow pasture a few miles from our home in Greer SC. It was mostly local bands, but there was a blind guitarist/singer Dad wanted me to hear.... his name was Doc Watson.

Dad realized we'd found something we both enjoyed doing together. Next he took me up to Cliffside, North Carolina to the Snuffy Jenkins Bluegrass Festival. There were many well-known nationally touring bands at that festival but I've long since forgotten which ones they were.
The hook was now firmly set, and I was eager to hear more.

During my college years I didn't get out to many festivals or concerts but I did become interested in learning everything I could about Appalachian Culture.... Food, Religion, Music, etc. I began going to the local public library and checking out every record they had related to bluegrass or "folk" music.

Then it happened.

The library had a copy of Harry Smith's 4 lp set, Anthology of American Folk Music and I checked it out, took it home, and put in on the turntable. This was not bluegrass. I didn't really know what to call it but the archaic music moved me even more deeply than bluegrass had. I renewed the record at the library and listened to it over and over and over again.
I knew I wanted to hear more and more and more of this older style of music.... but I didn't know where to go to hear it played live.

There was no internet back then, so I went to the library and found a magazine called
Bluegrass Unlimited which had a calendar of live music in the back of each issue. I took out my notepad and began writing down the dates and location of events in the southeast...... then I hit the road.

I read Bluegrass Unlimited faithfully and eventually subscribed so I could receive the magazine without the trips to library. I read each and every issue from cover-to-cover. I longed to learn more (and hear more)

I attended several regional bluegrass festivals and began talking with people and asking about where to hear the older style of music (I didn't even know to call it "old-time" yet).

Someone suggest I go to a festival up in a little town in Virginia called Galax...... so I did.

I found out it was not your typical "festival" but was something called a Fiddlers Convention. While there were many bands playing bluegrass, my ears were drawn to find the fiddle and banjo music I'd heard on the Anthology of Folk Music (and other LPs from the library). This old-time music was everywhere up there at Galax and I could not get enough of it. That was the start of my love affair with Old Time music and that love continued. I began going to more and more and more fiddlers conventions.

A few years later I was thrilled to discover a magazine devoted to this music called
The Old Time Herald. I subscribed and read every issue cover-to-cover.

Over the past 10-15 years, family responsibilities and other duties interfered with my festival passion and it's been several years since I've been to a festival or fiddlers convention. But life changes and I'm now 63 and ready to get back out to the festivals.

In May of 2022 I began doing research to find out which festival had started back up in the "post-covid" era and when and where they were. After compiling a pretty long list, I figured that there were probably other folks out there who would be interested in a comprehensive list of bluegrass and old-time festivals in the southeastern United States so I decided to create this website and an associated Facebook page.

I hope others find it useful.

I enjoy designing websites.
If any festivals or bands need a basic, affordable website , let me know.
Website Design and Maintenance can get very expensive these days, but it doesn't have to be.
I'd love to explore how I can help you promote your band or event with
an informative website at an affordable price .