Damascus Old Mill Music Fest with Balsam Range and More


Damascus Old Mill Inn

215 W. Imboden St., Damascus VA

Crooked Road Concerts


4:00 PM

This new festival will include outside food trucks, a craft beer garden, and an indoor artisan marketplace. The music starts at 4:00 p.m. on Friday with a grand finale concert at 8:00 p.m. by the reigning IBMA “Entertainers of the Year” Balsam Range. Event extras include a youth program performance by Scott County JAMS at 6:00 p.m.

This festival will take place on the grounds of the lovely Damascus Old Mill Inn adjacent to the scenic mill dam on Laurel Creek. The music will be outdoors under a tent, so bringing a lawn chair or blanket is recommended. A limited number of seats will be provided.

Since their formation in 2007, Balsam Range has been a dominant force in bluegrass music. In addition to numerous IBMA awards including Vocal Group of the Year in 2014, they are the current IBMA Entertainer of the Year. Named for the mountain range surrounding their home area of Haywood County, North Carolina, the band has produced numerous acclaimed albums featuring the mix of traditional stylings and modern sensibilities they are known for.

This concert will take place on the grounds of the lovely Damascus Old Mill Inn adjacent to the scenic mill dam on Laurel Creek. This concert will take place outdoors under a tent, so bringing a lawn chair or blanket is recommended. A limited number of seats will be provided.


Balsam Range is one of the leading bands in bluegrass music today. Founded in 2007 in Haywood County, North Carolina, the band features five talented musicians from that county: Buddy Melton (fiddle, and lead and tenor vocals), Darren Nicholson (mandolin, baritone and low tenor vocals), Marc Pruett (banjo), Caleb Smith (guitar, lead and baritone vocals), and Tim Surrett (bass, dobro, baritone, and lead vocals). The band takes its name from the Great Balsams, a mountain range that rises partly within Haywood County. These five musicians in Balsam Range made names for themselves in other affiliations—Melton as a member of the band Jubal Foster, Nicholson on the Grand Ole Opry, Pruett as a leader of his own band and with Ricky Skaggs (in 2016 Marc was awarded a North Carolina Heritage Award), and Smith and Surrett in gospel music—but they have achieved a new level of respect collectively with Balsam Range. In a little over a decade, the band has recorded seven albums, and an EP of Christmas music, all for the Mountain Home label. In 2011 Balsam Range won its first International Bluegrass Music Association award—Song of the Year for “Trains I Missed.”

The third album Papertown (2012) topped the Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey Chart for 5 months and received the Album of the Year Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. In 2014 Balsam Range was honored with major IBMA awards: the band won Entertainer of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year, while Melton was honored as Male Vocalist of the Year. This success prompted the the State of North Carolina’s House and Senate to officially honor the band. Staying on the bluegrass album chart for 19 weeks and producing three #1 bluegrass singles, the band’s 2016 album Mountain Voodoo was nominated for three IBMA awards and was awarded Album of the Year. In 2018 the band was received its second Entertainer of the Year award from the IBMA. Three of the members of Balsam Range—Melton, Nicolson, and Pruett—have headlined albums with other musicians. Pruett—who has played music around the U.S. for so many years that Ricky Skaggs has sometimes introduced him as “America’s banjo player”—received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from his alma mater Western Carolina University in 2010. All five musicians in Balsam Range combine their individual talents to create a powerhouse band that offers a heaping helping of instinctively blended vocals, instrumental skills, original songs, and smart choice in covers.

The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming is made possible by the Appalachian Regional Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, VA Dept of Housing & Economic Development, Virginia Tobacco Commission, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Blue Ridge Beverage, Food City, Virginia Commission for the Arts, David and Judie Reemsnyder, Dominion Energy, McGuireWoods, LLC., Virginia State Parks and other generous supporters. For the deaf and hard of hearing community, signing interpretation services can be made available if requested at least 21 days in advance of the concert. For requests received less than 21 days prior to the concert, every effort will be made for accommodations, but interpretation services are not guaranteed. To request services or for more information contact The Crooked Road office by email at admin@thecrookedroad.org or by calling 276-492-2409.