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Galax, VA. Old Fiddler's Convention since 1935.
August 6, 2011 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Nothing to do this coming week? Head over to Galax, Virginia to catch the Old Fiddler's Convention, a mountain music festival & competition that has been ongoing since 1935. Galax, located on Virigina's Crooked Road is in the heart of Virginia's musical heritage trail, a well mapped excursion that takes you way off the interstate's beaten path to experience old time Appalachian music in some of the most beautiful settings in the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you take the trail outside Galax, make sure you stop at the Floyd Country Store for daily (and nightly) jams inside the store, much like the Fiddler's convention's campgrounds' awesome impromptu jams
posted by priested (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Funny - I was just today telling someone about when I attended several fiddler's conventions in the late 70s, Galax among them, and how there was definitely more weed, liquor, and other psychoactive substances being consumed there than at any rock festival.
posted by squalor at 2:18 PM on August 6, 2011


Old fiddler's never die, they just bow out.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:19 PM on August 6, 2011


Fiddlers. Oh, fiddlesticks.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:04 PM on August 6, 2011


being consumed there than at any rock festival.
Funny, I remember my parents taking me to these as a kid and wondering what on earth was wrong with the scary shirtless lot.
posted by PHINC at 3:42 PM on August 6, 2011


I don't have time to check the links, but will Ole Swerdlow be there? And Limberlegs? And is there a jelly-off?
posted by Ducks or monkeys at 4:11 PM on August 6, 2011


Wow considering I'm currently in Hillsville (one town over from Galax) this is awesome!! Thanks for the post.
posted by meta87 at 4:38 PM on August 6, 2011


When I was going to Virginia Tech in the 90's I went to to Galax with one of my friends to see his uncle who was in of these bands. It was a great road trip. The fiddlers treated us to some excellent music and excellent weed.
posted by Loudmax at 4:59 PM on August 6, 2011


I went to the the Fiddler's Convention four years running in the late 70s and early 80s. One year was an absolute Woodstock-level mudfest, but the atmosphere and the music and the love for the music was awesome. Got to see Doc and Merle Watson play for several hours just hanging out in a campsite.

If you are into roots/mountain music it's a must see. (Floyd County has the best moonshine in the country, too, if you're into that. Whiskey in mason jars half-filled with strawberries is a specialty and damn good.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:03 PM on August 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was at Woodstock in 1969 and I went to the Union Grove Fiddlers Convention in NC in 1972 to see Doc Watson and his peers. The state was midway through building a four lane highway adjacent to the festival grounds and had done the grading, but not the paving, so a tent city sprung up on the expanse of leveled dirt were the highway was to be.

It was in a low lying area, and there was some sort of an inversion that made all the campfire smoke settle in like smog over Mexico City. Then there were the bikers. Maybe they were Hell’s Angels, maybe not. But they all wore big revolvers on their hips and you couldn’t go anywhere without crossing paths with them.

Evidently the bikers took over the festival not long after that, and set up booths selling hypodermic syringes and other drug paraphernalia. Then it was shut down for a few years. But it looks like its up and running again, and running clean.
posted by Huplescat at 5:11 PM on August 6, 2011


Oh man, this looks like so much fun! I just showed this to my husband and now we're set to go on Wednesday for the Bluegrass Fiddle, Dulcimer, and Bluegrass Banjo Competitions, woot!
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 6:54 PM on August 6, 2011


Augh, I have always wanted to do this! Someday, someday...
posted by naoko at 8:26 PM on August 6, 2011


So by about 8:00 am on what should have been a lazy summer Sunday morning, I've started making plans. Mrs. phrits doesn't know it yet, but we're finally going to get that honeymoon in 2015.
posted by phrits at 5:12 AM on August 7, 2011


What amazes me is that impossibly talented Adam Hurt tends to just place in the banjo contests, and not win outright. Those other players must be better than good.
posted by scruss at 3:16 PM on August 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wrote about the Floyd Country Store and Maces Spring, home of the Carter Family Fold, for the Washington Post a while back.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:01 PM on August 7, 2011


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