Back to All Events

Backwoods Beat Music Festival

  • Muddy Creek Cafe 60 South Main Street Sparta, NC 28675 (map)

Backwoods Beat Festival is a weekend showcase of outstanding singer-songwriters and original fine art.   Headlining this year’s music portion of the Festival will be concerts with Matraca Berg on June 21 and Mary Gauthier on June 22.  Both events will occur at Muddy Creek Café, 60 S Main Street, Sparta at 8 pm. The fine arts show and sale will occur on Saturday, June 22 from 10:00 and 5:00 at the Sparta Presbyterian Church yard downtown.  In case of rain, the art show will be at Muddy Creek's Music Hall.


Saturday, June 22 Matraca Berg and Mary Gauthier will conduct songwriting workshops at the JAM House for a limited number of both aspiring and experienced area songwriters. Also on Saturday afternoon other singer-songwriters will be performing at various venues in downtown Sparta.


Matraca Berg has released five albums. In 2008 she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and in 2018 she received the Poet’s Award from the Academy of Country Music. Her songs have been recorded by many of the Country music's elite including: Trisha Yearwood (Wrong Side of Memphis, XXX’s and OOO’s) Martina McBride (Wild Angels) Patty Loveless (You Can Feel Bad, I’m That Kind of Girl), Suzy Bogguss (Hey Cinderella), Reba McEntire (The Last One to Know), and Kenny Chesney ( You and Tequila). Matraca won the “Song of the Year” at the 1997 Country Music Association Awards for “Strawberry Wine” which was recorded by Deana Carter. Matraca has written over 400 published songs.


Mary Gauthier has released 11 albums. Her latest, Rifles & Rosary Beads, has been nominated for the 2018 Album of the Year by the Americana Music Association and the Grammy’s best Folk album of the year. Her 2014 release, Trouble and Love was named one of the best 40 Country Albums of 2014 by Rolling Stone Magazine. The Americana Music Association named Mary the New Artist of the Year in 2005. Her song Mercy Now was voted the #6 record of the Decade by No Depression Magazine. 


Additional information on the Backwoods Beat Festival, including how to purchase tickets for the concerts and songwriters workshops and how to apply for the art show, is available at:  


Alleghany Arts Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance art and cultural education and enjoyment in Alleghany County.


Alleghany Arts Council receives funding in part from the North Carolina Art Council, Alleghany County, and the Town of Sparta. Sponsors for the Backwoods Beat Festival are the Alleghany Tourist Development Authority, Skybest, Pioneer Eclipse, United Country Realty and NAPCO.