Wheeling's Victoria Theater is the longest operating theater in the state. In the past it served as home to the WWVA Jamboree. While hosting the WWVA Jamboree radio shows it also served as the venue for many live shows by country and bluegrass musicians, some who quickly gained fame and others who never caught the pubic's eye. Despite the WWVA shows coming to an end the Victoria Theater still manages to draw a crowd by hosting live music performances.
Backstory and Context
Beginning in 1933, WWVA Jamboree first aired live performances of local country and bluegrass musicians. The Jamboree helped many musicians obtain fame and also spread the area's music across the country. In 1934 the Victoria Theater became host of the WWVA Jamboree following its initial success. With the Jamboree finding a new home the performances could be shown before an even larger live audience while also being played over the radio. In 1936 the WWVA Jamboree hosted a live outdoor show at what is today Wheeling Island Stadium which drew a crowd of five thousand country music fans. This live event is now considered the precursor to Jamboree in the Hills, a country music festival held in nearby Morristown, Ohio. WWVA Jamboree radio show is the second longest running country radio program behind only the Grand Ole Opry.
Despite the massive success of the Jamboree it only called the Victoria Theater home for one year. Following the Jamboree's departure in 1934 the Victoria Theater returned to showing movies and other live performances, which continued for the next eighty years. Today, the Victoria Theater still exhibits local country and bluegrass artists by offering live shows to the public.
Victoria Theater. Ohio County Public Library. Accessed February 19, 2017. http://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/victoria-theater/5498.
Show History. The Wheeling Jamboree. Accessed February 19, 2017. http://www.wheelingjamboree.org/history.php.