Festivals                  appalachianmusic.net

Updated  Friday, March 02, 2018 11:54 AM est                                          Your online source for old time music news


Winter Festivals To Keep Away The Blues

Are you dreaming about summer festivals yet? No need to wait so long!

New Year's Eve
Oil City First Night.
Have you made your plans for New Year's Eve yet? There's some fine music to be heard at the Oil City First Night celebration this year. A good reason for not staying at home on New Year's Eve. Oil City is less than a two hour drive from Pittsburgh, PA. The entire event takes place at over a dozen different locations in town, each performer doing 4 sets between 8pm and midnight, plenty of opportunities to take in the many different shows and activities offered. For more details visit the Oil City First Night website at     http://www.usachoice.net/firstnight/FIRSTNIGHT05.htm

Mid January
January Ice Jam began over 10 years ago as a way to bring bluegrass jammers together over the winter. It attracts about 2,000 people over the weekend for a roster of top-notch pickers and strummers. The event commences mid January at the Days Inn, Route 8, in Butler. The hotel has a full service restaurant, and the facility is smoke-free. Admission is free, but donations are accepted to benefit the Bluegrass Relief Fund and WYEP radio in support of bluegrass. http://januaryicejam.com/

Official Groundhog Day Celebration, Gobbler's Knob,
Punxsutawney PA. While it's not clear to me why there isn't a solid presence of Old Time fiddle and banjo music at this event (see my article on weather) there is much to be entertained by at this very important Appalachian celebration. Concerts, storytelling, magic, comedians, flea circus, medicine show, art, crafts, pancake breakfast, and souvenirs are regular features of the three day event. Special features include: Showing of the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray, Induction of the 2nd member at the Meteorologist Hall of Fame, Exotic Bubble Tea Party, Crowning of Groundhog King and Queen, and The Prognosticators Ball. For the complete schedule and directions, visit the festival home page at: http://www.groundhog.org/

The Gardner Winter Music Festival is just the thing to get an early start into some good  jamming, workshops, concerts and more. The event is held late February in Morgantown, West Virginia. There is usually jamming and socializing at South Middle School beginning 6 PM Friday evening, Saturday events also include workshop demonstrations, stage performances and an evening dance.  For the complete schedule and directions, visit the festival home page at: http://www.gwmf.org/

Folk College at Juniata
with Simple Gifts

Folk College is a fun weekend of playing and hearing folk music. Pack up your instrument (or voice) and head for Juniata College for a weekend full of workshops, jam sessions, concerts, and group playing. The event is designed for musicians with eclectic tastes. Within one weekend, you'll have a choice of workshops ranging from old-timey to celtic to international, and you'll get to sing, dance, play, and listen. Musicians of all instruments and levels are welcome, and there are also choices for non-musicians who want to listen, learn, and experiment with folk music. Plus, school teachers in Pennsylvania will receive Act 48 credit.

This will be a real college experience. All events are held in college classrooms, and you'll have the option of staying in a dorm room and eating in the university's dining hall. We hope you'll join us for a weekend of good times and great music!

Among the many varieties of folk music there you will find a number of workshops featuring Pennsylvania fiddle tunes.

Juniata College is a beautiful setting in Huntingdon PA, nestled in the Allegheny Mountains of Central Pennsylvania..

Juniata Folk College
Huntingdon, PA

Sponsored by the Huntingdon County Arts Council. 
For registration information, 
contact: e-mail: hcac@adelphia.net
Phone: (814) 643-6220

Simple Gifts   Three women plus twelve instruments equals one good time with Simple Gifts. This award-winning trio plays everything from lively Irish jigs and down-home American reels to hard-driving Klezmer frailachs and haunting Gypsy melodies, spicing the mix with the distinctive rhythms of Balkan dance music, the lush sounds of Scandinavian twin fiddling, and original compositions written in a traditional style. The group is comprised of Rachel Hall (concertina and piano), Linda Littleton (fiddle, hammered dulcimer, recorders, bowed psaltery), and Karen Hirshon (fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and more). Band member Linda Littleton is also the founder and Artistic Director of Folk College.

Mt. Airy
Bluegrass & Old Time Fiddler's Convention

Mount Airy, NC













Always held the first weekend in June
Starting Friday at 7:00 pm and Saturday at 9:30 am

Veterans Memorial Park
631 West Lebanon Street
Mount Airy, North Carolina

Instrument, Dance and Music Workshops

$2075 Prize money plus ribbons to be awarded to contestants.
Pre-registration for contests required

RV Camping and Tent Camping
Parking room for 3000 cars

10 acres of shady woods for camping and picnicking
* Bring lawn chairs or blanket - will be held outside if weather permits *

For More Information please visit: http://www.mtairyfiddlersconvention.com/

Henry ReedThe Henry Reed Memorial Fiddle Convention 
Glen Lyn, VA

Henry Reed Memorial Fiddler's Convention is usually held the second weekend in June in beautiful Glen Lyn, VA, in the Town Park by the New River.  Just 10 miles east of Princeton WV and 36 miles west of Blacksburg Va, on RT 460. ( 5.5 hours drive from Pittsburgh )

Camping starts Wednesday ( $10 a night )

No contest pre-registration necessary 

$2000 in cash and ribbons for competitions in Bluegrass and Old Time Bands, and individual categories

Bands will compete Fri and Sat nights, with a make up period on Sat. for bands that couldn't make both nights. 

Alan Jabbour will have fiddle workshops Friday and Saturday Mornings from 10 am till 12 noon. 

For additional details about the festival visit http://www.gilesmountainstringband.com/henryreed.html

A website dedicated to the memory of Henry Reed can be found here

The Appalachian Stringband Festival

also known as The Appalachian Stringband Festival holds its annual gathering early August. Its an event well worth attending, even if only for a day, but be prepared to get caught up in the swell of contests, concerts, workshops, jams, and overflow of partying that will keep you till the very end, and have you returning even earlier the next year.

I have the distinction of attending the first year in 1990, and drawing number 1  for my band  The Lackawanna Longnecks  to play in the contest. Being the first contestant is generally considered the worst possible spot to be in, since the judges will not have any previous performance to compare you to. You become the 'standard' for the moment until something a little better comes along. On top of that, the microphones weren't even turned on until we were halfway through our tune. Despite all that, as banjo player Richard Withers pointed out, for the first four and a half minutes of the contest, ( and maybe longer ) our band was in the lead.

Over the years I've come to appreciate this festival and others as a great refuge, reunion, and rehab for my own musical interests. I respect the contests for what they are, as they promote achievement in an area of musical interest that has long defied the rules of commercial survival. Sometimes the results of contests reveal a focus on the skill of winning, rather than the art of playing, but they always manage to bring out so many players, the event becomes a pageant of arcane talent and experience equal to none. But by far, my favorite parts of the festival are visiting friends I've made over the years, collecting tunes, and being in hot jam sessions for as long as possible. People come from different parts of the US, and some other countries too. Even though they say the days of regional isolation of old time fiddle styles has passed with the advent of recorded and broadcast music, I still perceive the local preferences for tunes that make their way from scenes in California, North Carolina, West Virginia, Illinois ...and so on. And when you get right down to it, style emanates from the individual musicians. As far as I'm concerned, maturity is evident when you become uniquely recognizable by the way you play the most common tunes. Of course, that's just my opinion...The next festival on my horizon is Fiddlin' Bear which happens Labor Day weekend, near Scranton Pa. You can check out details here  http://www.sacrasoft.com/Genero/index.shtml    Hope to see you there.   :8^{>~

Greenwood Furnace
with Simple Gifts

The Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering is a weekend of music with plenty of opportunities to share, jam, dance and learn. Musicians of all levels as well as non-musicians who wish to listen or experiment, or pick up a dance step or two, are invited to participate in workshops designed and led by professional instuctors. Saturday evening’s highlight will be a concert with Simple Gifts followed by a contradance. View the detailed schedule for more information

Greenwood Furnace State Park is a beautiful state park located in central PA, between State College and Huntingdon, on the Mifflin County border.

Sponsored by the Huntingdon County Arts Council and Simple Gifts
For registration information, 
contact: e-mail: hcac@adelphia.net
Phone: (814) 643-6220