Founded by Uncle Ed Silverman in 1947 the Virginia Folk Music Association was created to promote and preserve Virginia's music heritage. Chartered on March 26, 1957 as a non-profit, volunteer organization by the late William "Bill" Tuck, former governor of Virginia, and the late Watkins M. "Watt" Abbitt former congressman, and later a Director on the VFMA board.
With the assistance and through lobbying efforts of Governor Tuck, the VFMA was the only organization officially sanctioned to hold the "state championship music contests." At first, there was one combined contest, but due to the large crowds and diversity of the music, it was later separated into two divisions, bluegrass and country; a true pioneer of country and bluegrass music festivals.
The VFMA sponsored spectacular shows with parades and queens, produced radio and later TV coverage. The first music contest were held in 1957.
To recognize and give accolades to those that have promoted and supported Virginia heritage music, famous and accomplished Virginia musicians have been inducted into the Virginia Country Music "Hall of Fame." In 1996 the special recognition award program was established. In 1998, the ad magazine and multi-day festivals were introduced.
Every year since 1972, the executive board chooses a outstanding music icon from Virginia to recognize and add the the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame.
The board recognizes musicians, icons, or volunteers that have made a huge contribution to the association, or in the musical scene in Virginia. The Association created a Special Recognition Award to recognize these individuals in 1996, and continues this tradition almost every year. Below are the past recipients of the award.