June 4, 2018
Athens State University will host the 52nd annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention, presented by the Huntsville International Airport, on October 4-6 at the school’s campus in Athens, Alabama. Musical competitions will be held on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Main Stage in front of Founders Hall and the Aetos Systems Stage at Brown Hall. Over $18,000 in prize money will be awarded. Proceeds from the convention fund student scholarships and other university projects.
Historically, the convention has attracted more than 15,000 people for the Friday and Saturday competitions, with more than 200 musicians participating. There are 19 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, Harmonica, Mandolin, Bluegrass Banjo, Dobro, Dulcimer, Old Time Singing, Old Time Banjo, and Buck Dancing.
The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention is the home of the Alabama State Fiddle Champion. The festival is also home to Alabama State Champion categories including Harmonica, Bluegrass Banjo, Dulcimer, Old Time Banjo, Classic Old Time Fiddler, Buck Dancing, Mandolin, Dobro, Old Time Singing, Guitar – Finger Picking, Guitar – Flat Picking, Bluegrass Band, and Old Time Band. The winners in all of these categories shall for that year be known as the Alabama State Champions, respectively.
Maddie Denton, from Murfreesboro, TN, was named the Alabama State Fiddle Champion at last year’s convention for the second straight year. She won the “Fiddle Off,” which pits the top fiddlers from the junior, intermediate, and senior divisions against each other for the prestigious title. This year’s fiddle champ will earn a total of $1,200 in cash and a trophy, along with bragging rights.
This year’s convention will feature a star-studded line up that bluegrass fans will not want to miss. Flatt Lonesome will kick off the convention on Thursday, October 4 at 7:00 pm on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Main Stage. The concert is free and open to the public.
Rhonda Vincent and the Rage will take the stage on Friday, October 5. “The Queen of Bluegrass” will perform shows on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Main Stage at 4 pm and 6 pm. To date, her band is the most awarded band in bluegrass history, winning 1 Grammy, 19 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, and 89 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Awards.
Bluegrass legend, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, will wrap up the entertainment portion of the convention on Saturday, October 6 with a show on the Alabama Famers Cooperative Main Stage at 6 pm. With a career that spans over 50 years, Skaggs has racked up 15 Grammys and 12 #1 hits, making him one of the greatest bluegrass artists of all time.
Approximately 150 booths featuring old-fashioned arts and crafts are part of the convention. Convention goers will see everything from traditional artwork to coal-fired metal works. Food vendors will also be on hand to provide anything from a quick snack to a full meal.
Competitions will begin Friday, October 5 at 7 pm following Rhonda Vincent and the Rage’s performance and will resume on Saturday, October 6 at 8:30 am with activities culminating Saturday night as the new Alabama State Fiddle Champion is crowned. Cost of admission is $15 per adult for Friday, $15 per adult for Saturday, or $20 per adult for a weekend pass. Children under 12 will be admitted free with a paid adult. Tickets can be purchased online or are available from the Athens State Business Office located in Founders Hall at 300 North Beaty Street.
For more information, please visit http://www.tvotfc.org.