MUSIC EXPLORER: 10 Reasons to Attend a Mountain Stage Show

Larry Groce, Music Explorer

Before I get to the ten reasons to join us for a live Mountain Stage show, let me invite you to give us a listen. If you haven’t yet heard Mountain Stage on West Virginia Public Broadcasting on Friday and Saturday night, or on one of the other 240+ stations that carry us via NPR, I hope you’ll tune in sometime. If anything else, you can listen to our podcast on your own schedule. Like what you hear? Well then, it’s time for the next step – a road trip.

A lot of Mountain Stage listeners wonder what it’s like to be in the audience when we record the show, so they head down to the Capitol City and check it out. Sometimes they’ll even find us on the road in Morgantown, Elkins or one of the other Mountain State spots where we do road shows. One of our favorite things are the letters and emails we receive from visitors after they’ve come to see a show, telling us of the experience they’ve had.

Photo Credit: Josh Saul

Every show is different, and our guests include the widest range of styles and genres. We invite you to visit our website and pick out a mix of artists that intrigue you. They may come anywhere from Appalachia to Africa. They may be songwriters whose tunes you’ve heard many times or emerging newcomers. Artists such as Lyle Lovett, Chris Stapleton, Ben Harper, Sarah McLachlan, The Old Crow Medicine Show, The Avett Brothers and Phish have all played Mountain Stage prior to becoming the stars they are today. In a year or two, you might have to pay big money to see the folks you see on Mountain Stage on any given Sunday.

Below, I mention the after-show jam at a local bar. We’ve had some epic nights there. I remember Jason Isbell and Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith (of Dawes) playing together, Paul Thorn leading a gospel rave-up, Margo Price singing country standards, and impromptu sets by NRBQ and Tal National (from Niger).

Photo Credit: Josh Saul

What we do here at Mountain Stage is a rarity and we’d love for you to be a part of that.

Come to see us and we think you’ll understand just what makes it so special!

  1. You won’t believe how good-looking Bob Thompson is. A connoisseur of keys with an always friendly smile.
  2. You’ll be amazed at just how much our merch crew can fit on a table. Find a gift or three for you or a friend and check out our beautiful limited-edition posters designed by our friends at Base Camp Printing. They create a new one for us EVERY show. (You might want to just clear a wall in your house if you come to see us enough.)
  3. You’ll see how our stage crew changes bands quicker than any crew this side of NASCAR. Five artists in one night? It’s an art form in and of itself.
  4. You can swap fishing stories with me after the show.
  5. Before the show, you can grab dinner at one of Charleston’s many wonderful restaurants.
  6. You’ll hear Executive Producer Adam Harris give his pre-show warm up, and you might even laugh at the same jokes he’s told for years because you haven’t heard them yet.
  7. You may get to meet Woogie and trust us, nobody else has a Woogie. He’s a character of his own and a Mountain Stage staple near and dear to our hearts.
  8. Often performers will head out to the lobby after the show to meet, greet, and sign CDs and posters. Who knows, you might meet the next Alison Krauss, Eric Church, or Indigo Girls.
  9. If you’re a late nighter, you can drop in on the after-show jam at The Empty Glass (see above).
  10. This one is pretty much guaranteed – at least it’s what we hear most from audience members. You will come to see a favorite artist but leave having found another favorite artist that you never knew about.

You can find our lineups and grab your tickets over at

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Larry Groce is one of the founders (along with Andy Ridenour and Francis Fisher) of West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage and has been the host and artistic director since its beginning in 1983. His most recent project outside of the show is “Paradise Park – The Musical”, with songs by Larry and book by Daniel Boyd. It premiered at Theatre West Virginia in June of 2018. Larry lives in Charleston with his wife Sandra and two daughters.

This post was last updated on March 17, 2022