Athens State University will host the 49th annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention on Oct. 2-3 at the school’s campus in Athens, Alabama. The musical competitions will be held on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Stage in front of Founders Hall and other locations throughout the campus. A total over $18,000 in prize money will be awarded. Aubrey Haynie and Friends, Tim Graves and the Farm Hands are headlining.
The convention is sponsored annually by the Athens State University Foundation and the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the convention fund student scholarships and other university projects.
The convention has historically attracted more than 15,000 people for the two-day event, with more than 200 musicians participating in the musical competition. There are 18 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing.
The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention is the home to Alabama State Fiddle Champion. The festival is also the home to the 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 Bluegrass Old-time Band. The winners in all of these categories shall for that year be known as the Alabama State Champions respectively.
Ross Holmes was named “Fiddle Champion” at last year’s convention. He won the “fiddle off” which traditionally pits the top fiddlers from the junior and senior divisions. This year’s fiddle champ will earn a total of $1,000 in cash and a trophy.
This year’s special guest at the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention will be Aubrey Haynie and Friends. Haynie has established himself as one of the most talented fiddle and mandolin players in contemporary country music. Haynie has been one of the most sought after session players in Nashville, having appeared on releases by George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Trisha Yearwood, and Bryan White among others, and with tours in the bands of Aaron Tippin and Clint Black padding his resumé, as well. They will be performing on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Stage in front of Founders Hall on Friday, October 2nd at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Tim Graves and the Farm Hands will also be performing on the Coop Stage on Saturday, October 3 at 5:00 p.m. In just 4 years, The Farm Hands have become the most exciting and talked about band in Bluegrass Music. At the 2015 Bluegrass Music Awards, the Farm Hands were named bluegrass music’s Gospel Band of the Year as well as one of the industry’s highest honors-Entertainer of the Year.
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.
Contests begin Friday, October 2 at 7:00 p.m. following the Aubrey Haynie and Friends performance and resume on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 8:30 a.m. with the gates opening at 8:00 a.m. Cost is $10 for Friday, $10 for Saturday and $15 for both days. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free with a parent. Advance tickets are available from the Athens State Business Office located in Founders Hall at 300 N. Beaty Street.
The festival culminates on Saturday night with the naming of the Alabama State Fiddle Champion. Being named Champion is highly competitive and is a coveted prize.
For more information visit www.athens.edu/fiddlers.