Fiddler’s Convention set for October 3-4 – Athens State University

Fiddler’s Convention set for October 3-4

Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top Express and Mafia Jug Band headlining

Athens State University will host the 48th annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention on Oct. 3-4 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 of $11,870 in prize money will be awarded.

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.

Beginning this year, The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention will be home to Alabama State Fiddle Champion. Last year, the festival became 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.

Joel Whittinghill 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.

From Goodlettsville Tennessee home of Bill Monroe, Bashful Brother Oswald, Stringbean, Grandpa Jones, and Keith Whitley comes the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band – five guys who not only know music, they wear costumes, tell corny jokes and even do slapstick gags that entertain audiences all over the world.

This year’s special guest at the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention will be musical Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-Press performing Friday, October 3rd at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. A legendary giant in bluegrass music, Bobby Osborne continues to be on the cutting edge of the now enormously popular music form. His instantly recognizable, quality high lead and tenor voice and inventive mandolin stylings remain unsurpassed.

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 3 at 7:00 p.m. following the Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top Express performance and resume on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 8:30 a.m. with the gates opening at 8:00 a.m. Cost is $8 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.

Story Date: September 16, 2014