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Music hall legacy continues in Keysville

Adis Philbeck

Crowds gathered at Philbeck’s Community Music House in Keysville Saturday for the annual Bluegrass Festival Benefit. Attendees listened to music, participated in an auction and enjoyed stew made by area favorite “Heavy Duty” while raising funds to support the music house.

Heavy Duty is the nickname of Larry Woodson. Woodson has been the chief stew maker for Philbeck’s Community Music House for a number of years.

According to organizers, close to four decades ago music was alive and well in the kitchen of Adis Philbeck.

Adis started jamming in his kitchen with Bill Joyner and other artists who dropped by. Local musicians along with musicians from other parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee showed up on Friday nights for the opportunity to play bluegrass music and jam with other musicians who stopped by.

Before long the music and musicians were too big for the kitchen and Adis built a small building on his property to house the crowd. The music continued every Friday night.

Before Adis died in 1998, he asked his son, Larry Philbeck to keep the music hall open.

A bigger building, Philbeck’s Community Music Hall, was constructed in 2000, by Larry and many volunteers, which can seat 100 people. Larry said, “this is a family friendly place where every Friday night musicians get together to play music. There is no drinking, no smoking, no drugs allowed — ever. People come to have a good time and feel safe. We never charge admission and usually provide drinks and snacks.” Philbeck continued by saying, “the building is open for the community to use. We have had weddings, birthday parties and team events here.”

“Key to the success and longevity of Philbeck’s Community Music Hall must be shared with Bill Joyner,” Larry said. Joyner’s band, the Bluegrass Country Partners have been playing at the music hall for many years. Joyner band members are Jimmy Lewis, Eugene Bentley, Everette Owen and Thomas Owen.

Joyner said, “I started playing here in the beginning and we have had some great musicians just stop by or plan trips to play together.” Joyner who is also the MC said, “there is no admission fee and it is a great time every Friday night.”

All monies collected from the auction, stew and donations will be used to pay for county taxes, building insurance, maintenance, electric and other expenses associated with keeping the music hall open.

No admission or other fees are ever charged. The goal at the Annual Benefit is $5,000.

Anyone who missed the benefit but would like to contribute can send donations to Philbeck’s Community Music House, 6228 George Washington Hwy, Keysville, Virginia 23947.