Spring has just about sprung here in East Tennessee, and to help get us through the last of winter’s grasp the past few months, Bill and the Belles attended two of the finest old-time fiddlers’ conventions in the region. In February, we went to the Appalachian State Old Time Fiddlers' Convention in Boone, North Carolina, and in March we traveled to Chattanooga, Tenneseee for the Great Southern Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention.
The Appalachian State Convention hosted workshops, a crafters market, and a luthiers gathering in addition to the daylong competitions. They sent Kris home with a blue ribbon for his performance in the folk song category, and saw fit to place Bill and the Belles third in the stringband competition. Thanks, Boone!
The Great Southern Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention takes place at the historic Lindsay Street Hall in downtown Chattanooga. This event has its roots in the conventions of the mid 1920s, when many of our musical heroes (Clayton McMichen, Gid Tanner, Lowe Stokes, and many more) gathered in Chattanooga to compete. We spent a good portion of the morning at a standstill on interstate 81, but it was so worth the wait. Lindsay Street Hall is such a beautiful setting, and the afternoon and evening was chock full of tune swapping and community building. We also came away with a few more accolades: Kalia placed third in the fiddle competition, and Bill and the Belles won the band competition!
These conventions are not only a chance to strut your stuff and compete, but they also gather members of the old time community together for one big, concentrated day of playing tunes and learning from one another. Given how vast the world of old-time music really is, it’s so fun to get a sense of different region’s musical personalities and to share our take on old familiar melodies. We can’t wait to go back to Boone and Chattanooga for next year’s fiddlers’ conventions!
Bill and the Belles has got a lot of exciting events on the calendar! Keep an eye on our schedule to see if we’re coming to your neck of the woods, and join our mailing list to stay connected. We’ll be at the Laurel Theatre Friday, March 24th, which is a venue we’ve long looked forward to playing in. Next weekend is a big one too (see below for details). Hope to see you soon!
Thursday 3/31: Funny Ears Fringe Festival (Knoxville, TN)
Friday 4/1: Jonesborough Spring Tune Up (Jonesborough, TN)
Saturday 4/2: Floyd Radio Show (Floyd, VA)
Sunday 4/3: Bonefire Smokehouse (Abingdon, VA)