SEEDTIME ON THE CUMBERLAND is the Appalshop’s annual summer festival celebrating Appalachian people, music, arts, and culture.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!! This year’s Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival will take place June 6th & 7th at the Appalshop in Whitesburg, KY.  More info on this year’s event will be posted soon!


To contact us with general inquiries, for booking information, or for information on vending or demonstrating crafts:

Email: [email protected] Phone: (606) 633-0108 ○ Fax: (606) 633-1009

Address: Seedtime on the Cumberland 91 Madison Ave., Whitesburg, KY 41858

On this site, learn about Seedtime, read about its history, check out photos from past years, get information on artists who played last year, or check out the latest Seedtime news at our blogroll below.  And do check back over the coming weeks as we announce the lineup for Seedtime 2014!  We’ll seeya at Seedtime!

Hand-made Arts & Crafts

Seedtime on the Cumberland is a festival known for its focus on traditional arts done in the old-time way.  Artisans featured at the festival only make hand-made items and some of them even make their own tools!  Seedtime is not only a place where musical traditions are passed from one generation to the next, but it is also a place where artists can begin to pass on their trade to the next generation. We are fortunate to have so many great artisans in this region and Seedtime will feature some of the finest around.

This year’s festival will feature vendors and demonstrators in Jewelry Making, Pressed Flower Art, Broom Making, Basket Weaving, Walking Sticks, Pottery, Hand-made Furniture, Wreaths, Painting, Literature, Quilt Squares, Wood Carving and much more!


Seedtime Hike, The Town Hill Trail

Sponsored by Pathfinders of Perry County

This year’s Seedtime Hike will explore Whitesburg’s Town Hill Trail with it’s beautiful view’s of downtown Whitesburg and of Pine Mountain.  The hike will be led by Jenny Williams of WMMT’s What’s Cookin’ Now! and chair of Pathfinders of Perry County.  Pathfinders of Perry County is a non-profit citizen action group that promotes community well-being, engagement, outdoor recreation and education in Perry County.

The Town Hill Trail connects from downtown Whitesburg across a former wagon road to the top of Town Hill, with trail access to the communities of Cowan and Little Cowan as well as to High Rock, a large rock face on Pine Mountain.

It’s recommended that participants be in good physical condition.  Long pants and good hiking shoes/boots are also recommended in case there are some slippery spots on the trail.  And don’t forget your camera, bottles of water, or a rain coat if things look inclement (though we at Seedtime don’t like to speak of such things).

Start time: 9am, Saturday, June 8th – Meet at the stage across from the Veteran’s Memorial parking lot, downtown Whitesburg.


*There will be special activities for kids

*Allow 2 hours for the hike

We look forward to hearing from you, and see you on the trail!

Appalshop’s 27th annual Seedtime on the Cumberland!

Join us June 7 & 8,2013 for another musical, art filled and euphoria inducing mountain experience in beautiful Whitesburg, KY!


Full Transcript of the Seedtime 2012 Helen Lewis Reading

from left: Herb E. Smith, Pat Beaver, Judi Jennings, Helen Lewis, Amelia Kirby, and Sylvia Ryerson

This past Seedtime Friday, June 8, 2012, saw an extra-special event take place in the Appalshop conference room.  Appalachian studies pioneer Helen Lewis, along with editors Judi Jennings and Pat Beaver joined Beth Bingman, Amelia Kirby, and Herb E. Smith in reading selections from Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia, a brand-new anthology of Lewis’s writings and memories that document her life and work.

What follows is a transcript of the reading, generously sent around by Roy Silver.  For more information on the book, click here.

Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia

Seedtime on the Cumberland, June 8, 2012

Appalshop Conference Room, 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Helen intro: It is great to be back at Appalshop.  My relationship with this creative organization goes back to its beginning. I was teaching at Clinch Valley College in Wise when Appalshop began, and I started sending students over to get involved.  Ben Ziccafoose did the film Frank Jackson Coalminer as a term paper in my class other students came here to work: Jack Wright, Ron Short and Beth Bingman, who writes in this book about her student experiences.  I later joined the Appalshop, staff to work with Herb E., Elizabeth, Mimi and other filmmakers to develop a film series on the History of Appalachia.

This book, which was developed by Judi Jennings and Pat Beaver, is a combination of a Reader made up of a lot of things I have written throughout the years and interviews giving the context for the writings, a history of social movements and changes which I have been part of from 1950 to today and pieces by others who participated in these events.  Being in Whitesburg I need to admit that I have plagiarized two important Whitesburg writer-activists in my writings.  Both Harry Caudill  in Night Comes to the Cumberland and Tom Gish, editor of the Mountain Eagle,  wrote and talked about the region as a Colony, about the outside exploitation of the wealth and the various programs for amelioration.  Gish saw these regional organizations developing more and more like the Office of Indian Affairs, to control the natives.  He saw this as a latter stage of colonialism in which those who are left over, the land and the people, live as wards of the government on a Paleface Reservation.

I took their writings about Appalachia, and I wrote and talked about how Appalachia was like an internal colony, and I began to look at how exploitation of resources and outside control affected other people and places. I went to the coalfields of Wales and began to write about the similarities between people there and in Appalachia and the impact of extractive industries. Wales is also where I first started learning about the power of video and film to tell stories.  In our reading today, we are going to focus on two sections of the book talking about my work in Wales and Appalshop which are related and still continuing today.  We want to save time for discussion of today’s problems and what happens After Coal.

Pat: While students at Oxford, England, John Gaventa, now an internationally known scholar and activist, and Richard Greatrex did some very rough videotapes in Wales of the 1974 Miners’ Strike. When John returned to Vanderbilt University, where he was completing his studies, Helen invited him over to one of her classes at Clinch Valley College to show the tapes. John recalls that, “As happens with many people Helen meets, I became a friend and colleague on a number of projects thereafter.  I also think of Helen as a mentor in the sense of someone who inspires in others the ability to see their work differently and who helps them see new possibilities to which they can aspire.”

Helen: So [in 1975] I got a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation on energy-related research and went to Wales. . . . John Gaventa was over there. His friend Richard Greatrex, a Welsh filmmaker, agreed to do videotapes in the mining communities if I would provide him with room and board. So I piggybacked this whole Welsh videotape production on my fellowship. Most weekends John would come to Wales, and he and Richard and I would videotape Welsh community scenes.

We also used the grant for an exchange; we brought Hazel Dickens, Mike Seeger and that group of musicians—Rich Kirby, John McCutcheon, some of the Brookside mine women, Charis Horton, and people from the River Farm. It was an invasion of the Americans in this mining community where they hadn’t seen Americans since World War II.

Judi: Helen used video and visual anthropology to understand life in Welsh mining valleys. Throughout her career, Helen has been able to build such global links, but always to do so without losing her deep local and regional roots. Her work is a conversation between regional culture and global political economy. For Helen, the sociological world has always been bigger than its academic boundaries. At Clinch Valley College, she and her students engaged in the communities, not just the classroom. In her Welsh project, she used her networking skills to build links among miners, academics, and broader publics in the two regions that last to this day.

Helen: My Old Black Mountain Home” or “Deep in the Heart of Dyfed” or “What I Learned in Wild Wild Wales,” A Poem of Sorts, read at the Rose and Crown, Wales, April 24, 1976

I rented a little cottage

In Upper Brynamman on Bryn,

With Richard and John in the household

And visits from one or two friends.


We made a lot of videotapes

At schools and pubs and clubs and mines,

Of people singing, dancing and shouting a bit,

But mostly speaking their minds.


What have I done in my travels?

What have I learned in my stay?

I’ll tell you a few of the highlights

In my work, which is better called play.

Continue reading Full Transcript of the Seedtime 2012 Helen Lewis Reading

Thanks to all for an incredible, memorable Seedtime!

The 26th Annual Seedtime on the Cumberland festival was a rousing success, and we can’t thank each and every one of you enough for your participation, your songs, your stories, your crafts, your artwork, your enthusiasm, your dancin’, your good company, and your positively contagious sense of fun. We had an incredible lineup of musicians and performers, a high-quality and diverse selection of crafters and demonstrators, a memorable series of special events, and a fantastic, supportive crowd of friends old and new alike that all came together to create a one-of-a-kind festival, as unique and diverse of every one of you who attended. To everyone who made the 26th Seedtime possible, THANK YOU so VERY MUCH and we’ll see you back next year for the 27th edition!

Also, check back to and over the coming weeks as we post photos from the weekend – who knows, you may even see yourself!

Seedtime starts TONIGHT (!) (!!!)

Happy Thursday Morning to all of you folks out there, and Happy Seedtime!  The festival starts TONIGHT, June 7, with a very special edition of WMMT’s long-running live performance bluegrass series (the best live performance radio this side of WSM, if you must know), Bluegrass Express Live!

Some info about tonight’s bands will follow, but first–if you’re on your way here, Welcome to Whitesburg!  Here’s a history of our fair festival.  Here also are some local lodging options (if you’re planning to camp, do not forget that Wiley’s Last Resort is the official campground of Seedtime 2012), as well as driving directions from various localities nearby.  Here are some local things-to-do.

We also are still in need of volunteers to help make the weekend go, so here’s some info on what we need help with.  If you are interested in helping make this festival go this weekend, we would appreciate it so very much!  For questions or information of any sort, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  Our phone number at WMMT is (606) 633-0108, and our email is [email protected]

Now, some info about tonight’s bands:

Normally at BGX, if we have an opening band in addition to our headliner, the opening band gets a short set while the headliner plays a longer, two-set show.  We’re so excited about both of our groups on Thursday, however, that both The Tommy Webb Band and Heather Berry & Tony Mabe will receive equal time and equal billing!

Some information on the two artists that will kick off Seedtime 2012:

The Tommy Webb Band

The Tommy Webb Band is an Eastern Kentucky-based bluegrass band that has been winning fans both here at home and across the country since their founding in 2005.  They have released four full-length albums, including the 2011 release From Rock n’ Roll to Bill Monroe.  The album, and its title track especially, became a favorite here at WMMT quickly after its release, and has spent a great deal of time charting among the top 35 bluegrass albums nationwide.  Webb is a Floyd County (Ky.) native, and we’re thrilled to bring him and his band back to the Appalshop stage for a performance close to home.

Heather Berry & Tony Mabe

Heather Berry is a Virginia native who combines lovely, affected, “song-bird” vocal work with Mother Maybelle-style arch-top guitar accompaniment to create a captivating mixture of bluegrass and folk.  She is accompanied by the versatile Tony Mabe, who plays everything from the autoharp to the mandolin to the guitar to both Scruggs and clawhammer-style banjo.  The couple have recently signed with Mountain Fever records and have just put out a brand new record, the self-titled Heather Berry & Tony Mabe Show, as well as a single, “Walk Slow,” which quickly became a hit here at WMMT.

We couldn’t be more excited to be able to have both The Tommy Webb Band and Heather Berry & Tony Mabe kick off the 2012 Seedtime festival.  Just as with every BGX Live!, the show begins at 7:30!  For more information, call WMMT today at (606) 633-0108 or email us at [email protected]  As always, tickets are $15 / $5 for students and kids.  See you tonight!

Wiley’s Last Resort

The Official Campground of Seedtime 2012

The primitive campground at the end of the whirled.

6.3 miles from the Appalshop high atop the majestic Pine Mountain!

WLR is a private nature & wildlife preserve near Whitesburg in Letcher County on top of Pine Mountain, the second highest mountain in Kentucky.

The Pine Mountain Trail Linear State Park passes through the Resort and The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come Trail entrance is across the US 119. The Resort is bordered by the 3000 acre Bad Branch Falls Nature Preserve and is 3.7 miles from the Bad Branch parking area.

The Resort is dedicated to making the world a little bit better place, the preservation & perpetuation of wildife, music, poetry, fun, fol-de-rol and communing with Nature.

For directions and other info go to

Dr. Ron Pen to lead Shape Note Singing Workshop

Dr. Ron Pen of the University of Kentucky

Appalshop Theater

Saturday, June 9th, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Dr. Pen, a founding member of the Appalachian Association of Sacred Harp Singers, will be teaching Seedtime participants the American singing tradition known as “shape note singing.” This musical style, often called “Sacred Harp” singing, is a type of sight-reading harmonization that is a rich part of American heritage. Dr. Pen’s workshop will be open to everyone willing to participate and will include some background history and social context for the music. No musical experience necessary.