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American Traditional Music Festivals

Crispin 22 Jan 08 - 09:34 AM
nickp 22 Jan 08 - 09:40 AM
Crispin 22 Jan 08 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 22 Jan 08 - 11:21 AM
dick greenhaus 22 Jan 08 - 11:41 AM
Arkie 22 Jan 08 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 22 Jan 08 - 12:08 PM
Maryrrf 22 Jan 08 - 12:22 PM
catspaw49 22 Jan 08 - 12:48 PM
GLoux 22 Jan 08 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,nickp cookieless 22 Jan 08 - 01:05 PM
Crispin 22 Jan 08 - 01:11 PM
Arkie 22 Jan 08 - 08:45 PM
Kent Davis 22 Jan 08 - 09:44 PM
LeTenebreux 22 Jan 08 - 10:48 PM
GUEST 23 Jan 08 - 12:47 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 23 Jan 08 - 07:58 AM
GLoux 23 Jan 08 - 08:16 AM
oombanjo 23 Jan 08 - 11:33 AM
Desert Dancer 23 Jan 08 - 12:46 PM
PoppaGator 23 Jan 08 - 01:29 PM
dick greenhaus 23 Jan 08 - 01:50 PM
Banjovey 23 Jan 08 - 08:44 PM
LeTenebreux 24 Jan 08 - 12:36 AM
BanjoRay 24 Jan 08 - 03:22 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 24 Jan 08 - 12:43 PM
Fortunato 24 Jan 08 - 01:41 PM
Arkie 24 Jan 08 - 04:58 PM
Janie 24 Jan 08 - 10:48 PM
GUEST,petr 25 Jan 08 - 04:41 PM
Crispin 26 Jan 08 - 05:14 AM
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Subject: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Crispin
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 09:34 AM

I want to go to the Appalachians for a holiday, specifically to get involved in the music. Can anyone recommend the best place(s) to go for traditional music?


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: nickp
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 09:40 AM

When were you thinking of...


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Crispin
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 09:55 AM

Probably May or June but I'm pretty flexible


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 11:21 AM

There is a book available called The Crooked Road which is an excellent guide to many of the the festivals, sessions, musicians and instrument makers in the Virginia section of the region. It includes two CD's of the music available plus a commentary by Joe Wilson and it costs about £18.00. There are video clips on You Tube incuding Joe Wilson talking about Fries one of the small towns on the New River which has produced many musicians past and present. I just wish this had been available when I first started visiting. It took me time to discover many of these places and now here they all are in one book.
It is excellent value.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 11:41 AM

Which tradition?


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Arkie
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 11:56 AM

There is a big festival in Galax, Virginia. I've never attended myself but know several people that have.   It features a fiddle contest and a number of other contests as well.   I do not know if "name" acts ever appear. I think it is more of a grass roots kind of thing with lots of opportunities to pick if that is an interest. You would have to Google for the dates. A more conventional festival with a traditional feel but does feature well known performers is held at John Rice Irwin's Museum of Appalachia in Norris, TN. This annual event is in the fall.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 12:08 PM

There once was a folk/roots music mountain get-together cum festival at "Sweets Mill," a private camp east of Fresno, CA that ran for many years, beginning in the 1960's, if memory serves. I don't know if it continues in some form or if another venue has replaced it, but the late Mark Spoelstra, among others, was a semi-regular attendee. There is an active group of folk music devotees in the central San Joaquin Valley area. You might try contacting fresnofolklore.org for the latest.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Maryrrf
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 12:22 PM

Here's a good link to go to for The Crooked Road . In Virginia. That would make a very nice trip to rent a car and drive through this area, stopping to hear traditional music along the way. The scenery is beautiful and unspoiled, and I doubt motels or food would be very expensive either.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 12:48 PM

The Fall Homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia is a really fine event and if you're looking to learn a little history as well, a great place to go(ANYTIME!). I agree with Arkie above on both he mentions as a matter of fact. Also in August there is an annual event at the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia not far from Bristol.

In eastern Kentucky find both Berea College and the Hindman Settlement School then google up info. Do the same for Boon, NC, Elkins W. VA, and Asheville, NC as well. That tristate area enclosed by Lexington, Ky., Knowville, Tn and points east is full of good events but some come and go or change names. A great family band fest has passed on now but I'm sure other new events are coming along too. Sadly at times the newer ones are a bit on the artsy-fartsy side but............

Good Luck!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: GLoux
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 12:54 PM

If it is old-time Appalachian music you're looking for, just this weekend, Tammy Sawyer and others on the New River Old Time (NROT) list put this list together:

March
?? OT scratch band thing at the Rex, Galax
15?- Fairview
29- Fiddlers Convention at the Fairview Ruritan Club (near Galax)


APRIL
5?- Mountain Music fest – Independence
19- Shakori Hills
24-27- Merlefest

MAY
9-10- LEAF
15-18- Jomeokee Festival in Pinnacle, NC
23-25- Fiddlers Grove

JUNE
6-7- Mt Airy
14- Bluff mtn, Hot Springs
13-14- Charlie Poole
14?- Henry Reed fest
13-14- Galax leaf and string
13-14 - Seedtime on the Cumberland - Whitesburg, KY
14 - Clinch Mountain Music Festival
19-22- West Virginia State Folk Festival – Glenville WV

27-28- Elk Creek

JULY
11-12- Tazewell
12- Sugar Grove Music Festival - Sugar Grove, NC
18-19- Sparta
25-26- Floydfest
25-26- Moorehead F.C.

Clifftop- July 30- Aug 3

AUGUST
1-2- Ashe County F.C.
1-2- Carter Family Festival
4-9- Galax
15-16- Fries
15-16- OlaBelle Reed Festival
22-23- Laurel Bloomery
29-30- Happy Valley
29-30- Ralph Epperson Memorial Fest? Mt. Airy 2

SEPT
3-7- J.P. Fraley Mountain Music Gatherin' - Carter Caves State Park, KY
5-6- Adwolfe F.C.
5-6- Rockbridge
19-20- Hoppin John fiddle festival -- Shakori Hills

The question marks mean that they're not sure of the date. The upcoming issue of the Old-Time Herald will probably be their festival issue with a very exhaustive list of the old-time festivals.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: GUEST,nickp cookieless
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 01:05 PM

That about covers most of them and yes, the OT Herald is the magazine with the information.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Crispin
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 01:11 PM

Thanks everyone for your help - it certainly gives me something to work on


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Arkie
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 08:45 PM

I might as well put in a little plug for Mountain View, Arkansas as well. The Arkansas Folk Festival is the third weekend in April and there are scheduled concerts at several venues in town and a lot of jamming and picking on the courtsquare and anywhere else people with instruments might gather.   The Ozark Folk Center opens up for the season that weekend and is open Wed through Saturday thereafter offering concerts of traditional Ozark music and also demonstrations of traditional Ozark handcraft.

Ozark Folk Center


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Kent Davis
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 09:44 PM

You might consider the West Virginia Folk Festival in Glenville, WV. This year it is held June 19-22. It is one of the oldest folk festivals in the U.S., in its 59th year. Here is more: http://www.wvfolkfestival.org/


Another option is the Vandalia Gathering, on Memorial Day Weekend. Here is more: http://www.wvculture.org/vandalia/vansched.html

My family and I have been to both many times and have always enjoyed them. We hope to go again this year.

Kent


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: LeTenebreux
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 10:48 PM

How about the Old Songs Festival in Altamont, NY? Also, the Dance Flurry in Saratoga Springs, NY (I started a thread for the latter. It's focused on dancing, but there's a lot of spontaneous jamming)


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 12:47 AM

Just a word from the mountains of Virginia. Watch out for the slight differences between the perspectives of the folklorists-- and real Appalachian traditional string bands. The list in Gloux's post is good and you should use it. This is a list of locally organized and supported community events. That is what you want.

Expecting "The Crooked Road" to have music except when the local musicians have already decided to do it on their own is not realistic. You'll drive through some mountain scenery, but you'll be lucky to find even one substantial music event.

"Name acts" is not an important concept in the music of this part of the country. The local standards are so high that the average run of local musicians is frequently better than the "name acts" at other places I've been.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 07:58 AM

I couldn't disagree more with GUEST above. The book that I mentioned "The Crooked Road" is an excellent guide.
May I suggest a good time to go would be end of May into June; First week-end Fiddler's Grove, N.C. next week-end Mount Airy, N.C, following week-end Galax Leaf & String Festival, Galax, Va. following week-end Wayne Henderson's Guitar and Music Festival, Grayson Highlands Park, Va.
I do recommend you take a look at that book, worth it for the 2 CD's alone plus lots of info on local picking sessions. Joe Wilson lives in the area and knows his subject thoroughly.

Greg Loux's posting above is also a good guide.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: GLoux
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 08:16 AM

Absent from the list I posted are some educational "camps", like Augusta in Elkins WV, Swannanoa NC, Ashokan NY, which you might also consider.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: oombanjo
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 11:33 AM

I wish I was going This year but the wife wants to wait the 2 years till I retire Boho.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 12:46 PM

Beware the "it's a big country" problem: Arkansas and upstate New York are a long drive (from UK perspective) from Virginia - West Virginia - North Carolina.

~ Becky in Tucson (a very long way from any of that)


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: PoppaGator
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 01:29 PM

Becky's right: Arkansas and (gasp!) California are a l-o-o-o-n-g way from the Appalachians.

That said, the Arkansas Folk Festival in Mountain View, at the Ozark Fook Center, is a good one. Or at least it was when I attended in 1972! Founding father Jimmy Driftwood was still alive then, and I had the honor and the wonderful memory of sitting in with him and a small group, plucking a borrowed washtub bass.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 01:50 PM

For representatives of different traditions, there are several sea music festivals (Mystic Sea Music Festival comes to mind); blues festivals and several more-or-less trad festivals such as Old Songs and Champlain Valley.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Banjovey
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 08:44 PM

You don't have to go to USA for an American Traditional Music Festival. Try Sweet Sunny South Festival in Hastings East Sussex on the second weekend in September each year. This years guest performers are Debby McLatchy, Mike Fenton and The Down Trodden String Band. For details see our web site


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: LeTenebreux
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 12:36 AM

Upstate NY is a mere six hour drive from the Delmarva Peninsula.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: BanjoRay
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 03:22 AM

If you want great festivals that last more than a weekend then consider Mount Airy and Clifftop. People start arriving at Mount Airy (North Carolina) about the tuesday before the official weekend, and the standard of musicianship that builds up over the next few days is astonishing. Clifftop (West Virginia)lasts even longer, the sessions and jamming start the previous weekend, and if you arrive then you get your pick of the best camping spots. The Old Time stringband content of both these festivals is great, with many fine musicians taking part in the competitions over the official weekend.
I'll be at Clifftop this year - it's been far too long since my last visit (2002), and I'm really looking forward to jamming with people I met at other events - I know they'll be there!
Ray


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 12:43 PM

You could do well at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, in the heart of the soutern Appalachians.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Fortunato
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 01:41 PM

Banjo Ray strikes a good chord above with Mount Airy and Clifftop, but add Galax to CLifftop on the following week and you've got a double dose for a 3 week holiday.

My favorite festival was mentioned above, Fiddler's Grove, May 23-25 this year, b. We'll be there and at Galax, and perhaps Clifftop, though that's still not certain.

The key is to walk around with your instrument, stand at the edge of the circle and look friendly, and you'll likely be asked to join in. If you're not up to playing, still you can have a visit and meet some good folks.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Arkie
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 04:58 PM

Noting the post about Mt. Airy above I have to add this about Mountain View. Pickers start gathering on the courthouse square when daytime temperatures get above 40 degrees and warm themselves in the evening hours beside the several outdoor stoves and firepits. The music continues until daytime temperatures drop below 40 degrees.   Sometimes harsh words are exchanged if someone begins to waste wood by stoking the fires too heartily. You can usually find someone with a music instrument on the square 12 months out of the year. If the weather is too harsh you might have to stop in one the towns two music stores to find a picker or two.

Arkansas is a pretty far piece from the Appalachians but it represents what Appalachian music became when it crossed the Mississippi River.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Janie
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 10:48 PM

Might be a bit late for you, but there is some mighty fine jamming that goes on at theStonewall Jackson Jubilee in central WV the end of August. It is billed as concerts, and the concerts are fine, but the jamming is also.

You really haven't said what you are interested in regarding traditional music. I second other's remarks about Augusta, The West Virginia Folk Festival and Vandalia. I haven't been to Clifftop at all, or to Galax or Union Grove in years because I am a singer, not a player (and they are big and I don't do big anymore) but my sister never misses Clifftop (she's a fiddler). FWIW, she goes the week before during the run-up period of the gathering and jamming, then clears out the first day of the festival itself. Some of that is because she can't really be away from work for more than a week at a time so had to choose between the pre-festival and the festival.

Shakori Hills has a number of offerings, depending on the time of year. Some of them are trad., but the big Shakori Hills festival is 'roots' music. It will include trad. and a bunch of other music. But Shakori Hills is in the Piedmont of NC. It ain't in the mountains.

Appalachia is a Big area, as others have noted. You haven't said just where in the Appalachians you intend to be. West Virginia, southwest Virginia, and North Carolina all offer a lot, and there will be regional differences. Check out Footmad websites for the areas in which you will be for local events and dances also.

Hope your journey is wonderfully fun. If you do venture out of the mountains and into the Piedmont area of North Carolina, give me a holler and an opportunity to offer some southern hospitality.

Janie


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 04:41 PM

there also the Festival of American fiddle tunes in Port Townsend Washington.. Its probably on the other side of the country, but has been a very popular festival for over 30years now.
Ive been to at least 6-or 7 of them.
cheers
Petr


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Subject: RE: American Traditional Music Festivals
From: Crispin
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 05:14 AM

Thanks to everyone for your input. The idea of the trip is as part of my 60th birthday celebrations and, ideally, as well as festivals I'd like to get involved in American equivalents of Folk Clubs. I play guitar (badly) and wouldn't dream of trying to jam with real musicians. However I do sing better than I play and have played in Folk Clubs off and on for many years. I just want to get immerse myself in local music.


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