Dock Boggs Festival

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1898 - 1971


Moran Lee "Dock" Boggs was born near the city of Norton in Wise County, Virginia in 1898.  He began playing banjo at the age of twelve, about the time he started working in the coal mines, only performing professionally on-and-off in the late 1920's and after he retired.  Dock Boggs had a distinctive banjo style and a raw, powerful singing voice.  In 1927, Brunswick Records of New York held local auditions of mountain musicians. Only Dock Boggs and one other group impressed the talent scouts enough to be invited to be recorded. Boggs recorded eight numbers including blues and ballads. In 1929, he cut four songs for The Lonesome Ace Record Company.  He also offered an audition with RCA Victor, but could not gather up the funds to make the trip to Louisville, Kentucky.  With the deepening depression and poor record distribution, Boggs gave up music until after his retirement.  Folk musician Mike Seeger persuaded Dock to record again in 1963.  He appeared at Folk Festivals throughout the 60's and is credited with heavily influencing the music of Bob Dylan.

Kate O'Neil Peters Sturgill was born and raised in Wise, County, Virginia.  She learned to play the organ at age seven and the guitar in her teens. She was also a singer and songwriter, playing with both "The Lonesome Pine Trailers," and "The Cumberland Valley Girls."  In the thirties, she helped her cousin, A. P. Carter, collect songs from the mountains of their native Virginia.  During the depression, she worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), teaching guitar and giving performances in local schools. She was well-known for her performances on WNVA Radio  in Norton, Virginia, from 1947-1954.  She performed throughout her life at local events and festivals.  She recorded one song for the Library of Congress Archive of Folksong as well as various other recordings. Sturgill performed many traditional songs and ballads of the mountains. A popular tune of hers was "My Stone Mountain Home."

Annual Dock Boggs and Kate Peters Sturgill Festival

Held at the Country Cabin II just outside of Norton, Virginia each September.

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Wise County Tourism

206 East Main Street, Wise, VA 24293


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