June 16 – National Old Time Fiddlers' Festival

Posted on June 16, 2014

Part contest, part festival – all old-time fun!

This annual festival is held at the high school of Weiser, Idaho, drawing thousands of people and hundreds of fiddlers competing in the contest. There are workshops, performances, music battles, a parade, and a carnival. Most of the visitors camp in the school's sports fields!

This contest has been going on a long, long time – more than 60 years! According to Wikipedia, it sets the standards for fiddling competitions.

Actually, it has never occurred to me before that there were such things as fiddling competitions. 

But I guess if people can compete to see who can eat the most hot dogs in one sitting – well, let's just saw that a fiddling competition makes a lot more sense!

Judges like to see Texas Contest Style fiddling with good old-time fiddling style, danceability, rhythm, timing, and good tone. There are several different divisions, depending on the competitors' ages.

  • There are (it turns out) lots of different styles of fiddling, and some of the swing and bluegrass and Irish fiddling comes out during the performances and the jam sessions!. Check out this video for a taste of several styles! 
  • A fiddle is, of course, a violin, and one of the earlier versions of the instrument is the medieval vielle. Check out some very old dance tunes played on a really old-style fiddle, here. 
  • Of all those styles “tasted” above, I loved Irish fiddling the best, so here is one more of that sort of fiddle music! Boy, does my heart sing to this music! 
  • Last but not least, I love TED Talks, and I thought that this TED Talk by two Canadian fiddlers was fairly long but charming! 

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