*Newly discovered, and unreleased recordings (the missing 78rpm disc) of JD Harris will be available*

12 noon

Registration for Contest Opens

 

1:00 to 5:00 pm

Contest

 

6:00 to 7:30pm

Supper

 

8:00pm

Concert/Special presentation

 

9:00pm

Final (if necessary) and Awards

 

9:30pm

Square Dance(Phil Jamison caller)

Contest Rules

 

The contest is open to old-time players familiar with the by-gone days, whose tunes may compel blood to course faster, and feet to smack the earth unconsciously.

 

Rules:

 

  1. Registration shall begin at 12 noon. Contest commences at 1pm.
  2. Participants of the fiddle, banjo and stringed band categories will be asked to initially present one representative piece of music. In the event of gaining the finals round, each competitor shall prepare two pieces. Diversifying one’s presentation of musical skills may be favorable to the judges. Fiddlers will be asked to furnish one lively piece and one waltz piece. If any of the contest categories have ten or less entries, no finals will be necessitated. Competitors within dance and singing categories will furnish one musical sampling each.
  3. The judges decisions shall be irrevocable.
  4. You must play by ear only (no sheet music)
  5. Each contestant may have accompaniment from no more than four persons, unless a fifth is doing the hambone (accompaniment may not play the same instrument as the competitor in question).
  6. Each contestant is encouraged to render only the length of their piece seen necessary (several times through a tune is usually enough). Singers of ballads should take particular care to abbreviate their offerings (8 minute limit).
  7. Any person enrolling themselves in competition may participate in no more than two separate categorical events.
  8. All singers and otherwise will ensure their lyrical choices and audible outbursts or exclamations are family appropriate.
  9. Singers will also remain mindful of the fact that the judges will offer preference to performances that demonstrate a connection to the traditional singing and repertoire of these southern mountains.
  10. Dancers may be accompanied by no more than four persons, and will kindly resist the urge to attach metal taps to the bottom of their competition shoes. Clogging, flat-footing, and buck-dancing, or any hybrid of these forms is appropriate.

 

Fiddlingest Fiddler

Next Fiddlingest Fiddler

Last Fiddlingest Fiddler

 

Top Banjo Picker

Second Banjo Picker

Third Banjo Picker

 

 

Finest Singer

Second Finest Singer

Third Finest Singer

 

Dancingest Dancer

Next Dancingest Dancer

Last Dancingest Dancer

 

 

Hottest String Band

Second String Band

Third String Band

 

Best Dressed Fiddler

Fiddler with the Longest Whiskers

Oldest Fiddler

Tallest Fiddler

Best "Arkansas Traveller"

Best "Cumberland Gap"

$300 + one fine oil lamp

$200

$100

 

$250 + one decrepit hammered dulcimer

$150

$50

 

 

$250 + one peck of fine potatoes

$150

$50

 

$300 + 1 plump laying hen

$200

$100

 

 

$500 + one bushel of apples and one cake soap

$300

$100

 

two handkerchiefs

one jar shaving cream and razor

one bottle cod liver oil

one pair galluses

one pound Unicoi County roasted coffee

one box salted crackers

Special Prize of choice talking gramophone discs to best of four fiddlers, who simultaneously play a different tune in different key without commencing to chuckle, or discontinuing play.

 

Each musical competitor will come away with the satisfaction of knowing they have done their part in breathing vivacious revitalized life into the melodious strains of our mountain fiddle tunes. All competitors may be allowed within a group portrait upon the closing of the festivities.

Directions

 

 

 

About

 

Upper East Tennessee has long been a land of deep musical traditions. Englishman Cecil Sharp knew this in 1916 when he selected Rocky Fork in Unicoi County as his first stop to collect ballads. And in 1925 the famous Mountain City Fiddler's Convention attracted a who’s who of southern Appalachian fiddling, and reminds us just how varied and unique this regions music is. The gateway mountain counties of Unicoi, Carter, and Johnson give way to the great Tennessee Valley to the north and west, and to the upper reaches of the western North Carolina mountains to the south and east. The story of the music here is one about the movement of people, both in and out of these highlands, and a story about people playing music, from generation to generation, in their chosen community. The Upper East Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention celebrates not only the early influential musicians who made recordings (JD Harris, Osey Helton, John Dykes, George and Lloyd Payne, Dud Vance, GB Grayson, Charlie Bowman, and many others), but also the those who played informally, for the love of music and fellowship with one another.

 

The Upper East Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention is a collaboration between Rocky Fork State Park and ETSU’s Department of Appalachian Studies, with support from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

 

Camping & Facilities

 

First come, first serve primitive camping facilities will be available at the property adjacent to the Flag Pond School, which has restrooms and shower facilities available for all, and will be open 24 hours.

 

Please no open fires.

 

Food

 

Food will be available for purchase from several vendors and food trucks.

 

Volunteer

 

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at info@otfiddlersconvention.com. Volunteers will receive free admission, and camping.

 

Lodging

 

Mountain Inn And Suites - 11.5 miles

Locally owned and operated Rental Cabins - 423-388-9340- sleeps 6 - 2 miles   
https://www.vrbo.com/491862  3 bedroom Cabin – 4 miles
https://www.vrbo.com/795962  Sleeps 10 – 3 miles
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/12173185  Sleeps 6 – 4 miles
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/11106996  Sleeps 4 – 5.5 miles

 

Contact

 

Tim Pharis, Rocky Fork State Park

tim.pharis@tn.gov

 

Roy Andrade, ETSU Department of Appalachian Studies

andrade@etsu.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contest Rules

 

The contest is open to the old-time players familiar with the by-gone days whose euphonious renderings compel blood to course faster and feet to smack the earth unconsciously. Between the genuine old songs and tunes, which are a part of our musical folklore, and the rumty-tum burdensome imitations of modern times (rambling reels and ragtime blabbings which offend the old-timey ear) there is a vast difference which the managers and judges of the Upper East Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention will be quite careful to observe.

 

Some of the finest of our local rustic fiddling pieces that have rang through the Unaka range to the slopes of King’s Mountain and are encouraged to be rendered by artistic manipulators of the fiddle strings include: “Cumberland Gap”,  “Polly Put the Kettle On”, “Old Granny Rattle-Trap”, “Blackberry Rag”, “Boatin’ Up the Sandy”, “Callahan’s Reel”, “Knoxville Blues”, “Whip the Devil Around the Stump”, “Rocky Road to Dublin”, and the old original “Grey Eagle.”

 

Rules:

 

  1. Registration shall begin at 12 noon. Contest commences at 1pm.
  2. Participants of the fiddle, banjo and stringed band categories will be expected to initially present one representative piece of music. In the event of gaining the finals round, each aforementioned competitor shall prepare two pieces. Diversifying one’s presentation of musical skills may be favorable to the judges. Fiddlers in the finals are expected to furnish one lively piece and one waltz piece; no buts about it. If any of the mentioned categories end up with ten or less entries, no finals will be necessitated. Competitors within Dance and Singing categories will furnish one musical sampling each.
  3. The judges decisions shall be irrevocable.
  4. No one playing by note is eligible to enter contest. You must play by ear only.
  5. Each musicianeer to contest may have accompaniment from no more than two persons, unless a third is doing the hambone (accompaniment may not play the same instrument as the competitor in question).
  6. Each music purveyor is encouraged to render only the length of their piece seen necessary, as countless masses will likely descend upon Flag Pond for the competitive festivities and time is a commodity. Singers of ballads should take particular care to abbreviate their offerings (8 minute limit).
  7. Any person enrolling themselves in competition may participate in no more than two separate categorical events (If you break this rule you will be thrown out).
  8. All singers and otherwise will ensure their lyrical choices and audible outbursts or exclamations are family appropriate (if you break this rule you will be run out and thrown out).
  9. Singers will render their numbers alone, without the assistance of other musicianeers or singers.Singers will also remain mindful of the fact that the judges will offer preference to performances that demonstrate a connection to the traditional singing and repertoire of these southern mountains.
  10. Dancers may be accompanied by no more than four persons, and will kindly resist the urge to attach metal taps to the bottom of their competition shoes.

 

Fiddlingest Fiddler

$300 + one fine oil lamp

 

Next Fiddlingest Fiddler

$200

 

Last Fiddlingest Fiddler

$100

 

Top Banjo Picker

$250 + one decrepit hammered dulcimer

 

Second Banjo Picker

$150

 

Third Banjo Picker

$50

 

Finest Singer

$250 + one peck of fine potatoes

 

Second Finest Singer

$150

 

Third Finest Singer

$50

 

Dancingest Dancer

$300 + 1 plump laying hen

 

Next Dancingest Dancer

$200

 

Last Dancingest Dancer

$100

 

Hottest String Band

$500 + one bushel of apples and one cake of soap each

 

Second String Band

$300

 

Third String Band

$100

 

Best Dressed Fiddler

two handkerchiefs

 

Fiddler with the Longest Whiskers

one jar shaving cream and razor

 

Oldest Fiddler

one bottle cod liver oil

 

Tallest Fiddler

one pair galluses

 

Best "Arkansas Traveller"

one pound Unicoi County roasted coffee

 

Best "Cumberland Gap"

one box salted crackers

 

Special Prize of choice talking gramophone discs to best of four fiddlers, who simultaneously play a different tune in different key without commencing to chuckle, or discontinuing play.

 

Each musical competitor will come away with the prize of knowing they have done their part in breathing vivacious revitalized life into the melodious strains of our mountain fiddle tunes, and just as the cherubs of old, strummed chords of delight upon the heartstrings of tens of people. All competitors may be allowed within a group portrait upon the closing of the merrymaking gaiety.

Directions

 

About

 

Upper East Tennessee has long been a land of deep musical traditions. Englishman Cecil Sharp knew this in 1916 when he selected Rocky Fork in Unicoi County as his first stop to collect ballads. And in 1925 the famous Mountain City Fiddler's Convention attracted a who’s who of southern Appalachian fiddling, and reminds us just how varied and unique this regions music is. The gateway mountain counties of Unicoi, Carter, and Johnson give way to the great Tennessee Valley to the north and west, and to the upper reaches of the western North Carolina mountains to the south and east—the story of the music here is one about the movement of people, both in and out of these highlands. The Upper East Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention is proud to invite you to come experience the music of our region.

 

The Upper East Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention is a collaboration between Rocky Fork State Park and ETSU’s Department of Appalachian Studies, with support from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

 

Camping & Facilities

 

First come, first serve primitive camping facilities will be available at the property adjacent to the Flag Pond School, which has restrooms and shower facilities available for all, and will be open 24 hours.

 

Please no open fires.

 

Food

 

Food will be available for purchase from several vendors and food trucks.

 

Volunteer

 

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at info@otfiddlersconvention.com. Volunteers will receive free admission, and camping.

 

Contact

 

Tim Pharis, Rocky Fork State Park

tim.pharis@tn.gov

 

Roy Andrade, ETSU Department of Appalachian Studies

andrade@etsu.edu

Contest Rules

 

The contest is open to the old-time players familiar with the by-gone days whose euphonious renderings compel blood to course faster and feet to smack the earth unconsciously. Between the genuine old songs and tunes, which are a part of our musical folklore, and the rumty-tum burdensome imitations of modern times (rambling reels and ragtime blabbings which offend the old-timey ear) there is a vast difference which the managers and judges of the Upper East Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention will be quite careful to observe.

 

Some of the finest of our local rustic fiddling pieces that have rang through the Unaka range to the slopes of King’s Mountain and are encouraged to be rendered by artistic manipulators of the fiddle strings include: “Cumberland Gap”,  “Polly Put the Kettle On”, “Old Granny Rattle-Trap”, “Blackberry Rag”, “Boatin’ Up the Sandy”, “Callahan’s Reel”, “Knoxville Blues”, “Whip the Devil Around the Stump”, “Rocky Road to Dublin”, and the old original “Grey Eagle.”

 

Rules:

 

  1. Registration shall begin at 12 noon. Contest commences at 1pm.
  2. Participants of the fiddle, banjo and stringed band categories will be expected to initially present one representative piece of music. In the event of gaining the finals round, each aforementioned competitor shall prepare two pieces. Diversifying one’s presentation of musical skills may be favorable to the judges. Fiddlers in the finals are expected to furnish one lively piece and one waltz piece; no buts about it. If any of the mentioned categories end up with ten or less entries, no finals will be necessitated. Competitors within Dance and Singing categories will furnish one musical sampling each.
  3. The judges decisions shall be irrevocable.
  4. No one playing by note is eligible to enter contest. You must play by ear only.
  5. Each musicianeer to contest may have accompaniment from no more than two persons, unless a third is doing the hambone (accompaniment may not play the same instrument as the competitor in question).
  6. Each music purveyor is encouraged to render only the length of their piece seen necessary, as countless masses will likely descend upon Flag Pond for the competitive festivities and time is a commodity. Singers of ballads should take particular care to abbreviate their offerings (8 minute limit).
  7. Any person enrolling themselves in competition may participate in no more than two separate categorical events (If you break this rule you will be thrown out).
  8. All singers and otherwise will ensure their lyrical choices and audible outbursts or exclamations are family appropriate (if you break this rule you will be run out and thrown out).
  9. Singers will render their numbers alone, without the assistance of other musicianeers or singers.Singers will also remain mindful of the fact that the judges will offer preference to performances that demonstrate a connection to the traditional singing and repertoire of these southern mountains.
  10. Dancers may be accompanied by no more than four persons, and will kindly resist the urge to attach metal taps to the bottom of their competition shoes.

 

Fiddlingest Fiddler

$300 + one fine oil lamp

 

Next Fiddlingest Fiddler

$200

 

Last Fiddlingest Fiddler

$100

 

Top Banjo Picker

$250 + one decrepit hammered dulcimer

 

Second Banjo Picker

$150

 

Third Banjo Picker

$50

 

Finest Singer

$250 + one peck of fine potatoes

 

Second Finest Singer

$150

 

Third Finest Singer

$50

 

Dancingest Dancer

$300 + 1 plump laying hen

 

Next Dancingest Dancer

$200

 

Last Dancingest Dancer

$100

 

Hottest String Band

$500 + one bushel of apples and one cake of soap each

 

Second String Band

$300

 

Third String Band

$100

 

Best Dressed Fiddler

two handkerchiefs

 

Fiddler with the Longest Whiskers

one jar shaving cream and razor

 

Oldest Fiddler

one bottle cod liver oil

 

Tallest Fiddler

one pair galluses

 

Best "Arkansas Traveller"

one pound Unicoi County roasted coffee

 

Best "Cumberland Gap"

one box salted crackers

 

Special Prize of choice talking gramophone discs to best of four fiddlers, who simultaneously play a different tune in different key without commencing to chuckle, or discontinuing play.

 

Each musical competitor will come away with the prize of knowing they have done their part in breathing vivacious revitalized life into the melodious strains of our mountain fiddle tunes, and just as the cherubs of old, strummed chords of delight upon the heartstrings of tens of people. All competitors may be allowed within a group portrait upon the closing of the merrymaking gaiety.

Directions

 

About

 

Upper East Tennessee has long been a land of deep musical traditions. Englishman Cecil Sharp knew this in 1916 when he selected Rocky Fork in Unicoi County as his first stop to collect ballads. And in 1925 the famous Mountain City Fiddler's Convention attracted a who’s who of southern Appalachian fiddling, and reminds us just how varied and unique this regions music is. The gateway mountain counties of Unicoi, Carter, and Johnson give way to the great Tennessee Valley to the north and west, and to the upper reaches of the western North Carolina mountains to the south and east—the story of the music here is one about the movement of people, both in and out of these highlands. The Upper East Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention is proud to invite you to come experience the music of our region.

 

The Upper East Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention is a collaboration between Rocky Fork State Park and ETSU’s Department of Appalachian Studies, with support from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

 

Camping & Facilities

 

First come, first serve primitive camping facilities will be available at the property adjacent to the Flag Pond School, which has restrooms and shower facilities available for all, and will be open 24 hours.

 

Please no open fires.

 

Food

 

Food will be available for purchase from several vendors and food trucks.

 

Volunteer

 

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at info@otfiddlersconvention.com. Volunteers will receive free admission, and camping.

 

Contact

 

Tim Pharis, Rocky Fork State Park

tim.pharis@tn.gov

 

Roy Andrade, ETSU Department of Appalachian Studies

andrade@etsu.edu