2021 Mount Airy Bluegrass & Old Time Fiddlers Convention

Mount Airy Bluegrass & Old Time Fiddlers Convention – photo by Mark T Brown

Some of the most cherished traditions for bluegrass pickers, particularly in the Appalachian region, are the annual fiddlers’ conventions that take place throughout the spring and summer each year. Thousands of people flock to fields, parks, and school gymnasiums to camp, pick, perform, and simply enjoy being around a whole group of people who love bluegrass just as much as they do. Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most (if not nearly all) of the long-standing conventions were cancelled in 2020. Though a few musicians put together private events in the same vein, it just wasn’t the same as wading through the mud on the fifth day at Galax. Thankfully, with the pandemic seemingly winding down, fiddlers’ conventions are back – and just as good as ever – in 2021. 

One of the more popular fiddlers’ conventions was held this past week in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, and you would never know there had been a year off. Several thousand people packed Veterans Memorial Park throughout the weekend, with the more dedicated pickers arriving with camping gear in tow at the beginning of the week. Band and individual competitions were held as usual, several local musicians offered workshops, and vendors set up throughout the park. Both bluegrass and old-time musicians were well-represented, with picking to be heard throughout the camping areas well into the wee hours of the morning.

After a year of virtually no live bluegrass, and especially no gathering together in large groups just to play music for the fun of it, it was one of the best feelings ever to stand out in a field singing Stanley Brothers songs with a bunch of folks you only see once or twice a year. I’m looking forward to hitting up at least a couple more conventions this summer. Though some of the other popular fiddlers conventions are still holding off until next year due to state and local COVID precautions, the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention is back on this August, and the Camp Springs Bluegrass Park in Elon, NC, will be holding the inaugural Camp Springs String Music Championships June 11-12, among several others.

We’d also like to congratulate the winners of the Mt. Airy Bluegrass & Old-Time Fiddlers Convention contests:

2021 Bluegrass Band

  1. Harrison Ridge
  2. Socially Distant
  3. Mountain Blessings
  4. Appalachian Mainline
  5. Coyote Ugly

2021 Old Time Band

  1. State Line Playboys
  2. Alum Ridge Boys and Ashlee
  3. Gap Civil – Old Time Band
  4. Slate Mountain Ramblers
  5. Five Mile Mountain Road

2021 Youth Band

  1. Southbound 77

2021 Dance Adult Division

  1. Michael Motley
  2. Phil Jamison
  3. Danny Knicely
  4. Marsha Todd
  5. Becky Wood Boyd

2021 Bluegrass Fiddle

  1. Ruth Shumway
  2. Cody Bauer
  3. Amanda Harell
  4. Crystal Shippley
  5. Willie Marschner

Bluegrass Banjo

  1. Andy Lowe
  2. Ronnie Harrison
  3. Tommy Morse
  4. Stewart Werner III
  5. Eddie Ray Buzzin


  1. Kyser George
  2. Chad Harrison
  3. Gus McGee
  4. Steve Kilby
  5. Conner Stevens

Old Time Fiddle

  1. Billy C. Hurt Jr.
  2. Lucas Pasley
  3. Erynn Marshall
  4. Richard Bowman
  5. Bob Willoughby

Old Time Banjo

  1. Marsha Todd
  2. Jared Boyd
  3. Trish Fore
  4. Nancy Sluys
  5. Michael Motley


  1. Addie Levy
  2. Daniel Ullom
  3. Scott Freeman
  4. Ralph McGee
  5. Todd Hiatt


  1. Charlie Milliron
  2. Robert Ellis
  3. Donnie Dobro Scott
  4. Billy Bourne
  5. Keith Aiken


  1. John Fogleman
  2. David George
  3. Barbara Bowman
  4. Wayne Bailey
  5. Michael Plumley


  1. Frank Horn
  2. Ehutkai Teves
  3. Tim Thorton
  4. John Renwick
  5. Chad Ritchie

Folk Song

  1. Stewart Werner III
  2. Elsa Howell
  3. Eliza Meyer
  4. Tommy Nichols
  5. John Curtis Goad

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About the Author

John Curtis Goad

John Goad is a graduate of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program, with a Masters degree in both History and Appalachian Studies from ETSU.