Henry Reed Memorial Convention:
June 10-11, 2011; Glen Lyn, VA
The Henry Reed festival has been held annually the first weekend of June since 2002, traditionally featuring Master Classes by Alan Jabbour and fiddle performances from Chris Via, Mark Campbell, Frank George, Bill Blevins, Jim Costa, and many others. Contests include Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddle, although there are of course many other contests. It's a great little festival dedicated to one of the most beloved fiddlers of the upper South. For more information, visit the Giles Mountain String Band.
Everyone I met was absolutely wonderful, friendly, talented, and supportive. Definitely a great place to go for Old-Time musicians, not just fiddlers. Even the food available was amazing. The only thing we wanted after this festival was for it to continue. I have a short video put together about the fiddling experience there on the index page, but it's also viewable on Vimeo. I also have a quick photo gallery available.
Appalachian String Band Festival:
August 3-7, 2011; Clifftop, WV
This was absolutely, inredibly fun and a great place to meet fiddlers and find local culture. Morning yoga, nightly square dances, post-square dance square dancing, family-friendly activities and the expected music competitions.The festival truly embraces all Appalachian culture beyond old-time music but there's certainly enough there to make anyone happy. It's a great family atmosphere, everyone knows everyone else, and for the most part, the people I met there were the most genuine, friendly people I've encountered. For schedules, pricing, and more information visit the Clifftop Festival website.
Old Fiddlers' Convention:
August 8-13, 2011; Galax, VA
The Galax festival claims to be the oldest and most popular fiddle conventions in old-time music, founded in 1935. Throughout the weeklong festival are countless old-time (and bluegrass) competition and performances. Mostly evening competitions with the spectators and competitors partying late into the night all week. Two days I showed up at noon and the camp was virtually silent--one vendor told me to return after 6pm if I wanted to catch anybody awake. I don't feel that anything here was integral to my project as the culture didn't come through as much as Clifftop and most of the competitors played the same piece over and over. For the best information, visit the Old Fiddler's Convention website.
Ohio State Fiddling Contest:
August 19, 2011; Nelsonville, OH
Part of a weeklong festival in Nelsonville Square, the yearly competition had maybe a dozen competitors in each category. However I did meet fiddlers from Kentucky and Tennessee so the event wasn't as local as I expected. Not much available online, but what there is you an visit at the Parade of the Hills website.