A 333-mile route with attractions that celebrate Southwest Virginia’s cultural and musical heritage brings in about $9.2 million annually and supports 131 jobs in the region, according to a Virginia Tech study.
The Crooked Road, founded in 2004, attracts visitors from outside the commonwealth to music events at venues in the region through its marketing and programming.
Some 42 percent of event attendees along the music trail are tourists, and 20 percent of them come directly because of The Crooked Road’s marketing. Some even hail from as far away as Canada, France, Australia, and Britain. The data come from a study by the Office of Economic Development, part of Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.
“It’s really kind of just putting you out there. It’s like another social media, another part of that,” said Jason McGuire, owner of the Hillbilly Opry, which joined The Crooked Road in 2013.
Once these visitors are in town, they’re likely to take advantage of all Southwest Virginia has to offer – such as shopping, visiting museums, and hiking – extending the benefits of The Crooked Road beyond the music stages, the study found.
Note: The above video was the first I ever produced. I’ve definitely shown some growth since — but I loved shooting this one.