In 1947, A group of music lovers, then known as "Hillbillies," (as was their music named, hillbilly music) met with Uncle Ed Silverman to form an independent organization to promote and preserve Virginia's music heritage. The Virginia Folk Music Association was chartered on March 26, 1957 as a non-profit, volunteer organization. The late William "Bill" Tuck (former governor of Virginia) and the late Watkins M. "Watt" Abbitt (former congressman, and later a director on the VFMA Board), were very instrumental in this action.
With the assistance and through lobbying efforts of Governor Tuck, the VFMA was the only organization officially sanctioned to hold the "state championship music contests," at first, there was one, combined contest, but due to the large crowds and diversity of the music, was later separated into two divisions, bluegrass and country; a true pioneer of country and bluegrass music festivals.
The VFMA sponsored spectacular shows with parades and queens, produced radio and later TV coverage. The first music contest were held in 1957.
Formed in 1972, famous and accomplished virginia musicians et al, have been inducted into the Virginia Country Music "Hall of Fame." 1996 brought the special recognition award program. In 1998, the ad magazine and multiple-day festivals were introduced.
The year 2000 brought the bluegrass festival to the world via the internet and the Heritage Music Youth Scholarship; 2001 brought monthly music jams. In 2003, the Thursday night suppers were introduced, and in 2004, the country store and auction were introduced. Continuing as a pioneer of music festivals and sponsoring music shows, the VFMA made another aggressive step forward in 2009 by introducing the first $5 a day quality bluegrass festival. In 2010, the tribute to the armed services was initiated. Moving forward, on June 11, 2011, the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame Museum was officially dedicated along with the Legacy Brick Walks. In 2012, the annual Christmas jam and food drive were initiated.
the vfma today
The VFMA is governed by a volunteer board of directors who elects officers to form the executive board. Over the years, many loyal and dedicated volunteers have maintained the VFMA as set forth by the founders. The mission of the VFMA remains the same over the years, as written by the founders, "to promote and preserve Virginia's heritage music—country, bluegrass, and gospel music." Today, the VFMA continues to hold annual shows and festivals, an annual competition, and in most years, adds an important music figure each year to Virginia's Country Music Hall of Fame.