2024 Star Fiddlers’ Convention results

Nathan Aldridge, Derrick Allred, Mike McCollum, and Danny Bowers getting ready to jam in the
hallway at the 2024 Star Fiddlers’ Convention – photo © Gary Hatley

The 97th Annual Star Fiddlers’ Convention is in the books. The long-running central North Carolina acoustic talent contest drew around 200 attendees and almost 40 entries with contestants ranging in age from 6 to 93, vying for $1500 in cash prizes.

Mary Callicutt of the Halcyon Women’s Club, who sponsor the annual event, stated, “I think the Star Fiddlers’ Convention was a big success, with more participants and spectators attending. It was such a beautiful evening that several of the bands chose to go outside to practice before going on. Also, having the young people (age 15 and under) play first, be judged at break time and then be able to leave, was something new that we tried this year. It worked out great. We would just like to thank all the participants, spectators, security, volunteers, and the school for all their help in making this a successful year.”

Winners for this year’s event were:


  1. Passin’ Thru
  2. Franklinville Express
  3. Twisted Grass Entourage.


  1. Nathan Aldridge
  2. Charlie Tolbert
  3. Bette Beane


  1. Danny Bowers
  2. Jacob Johnson
  3. Rodney Haywood


  1. CH Lineberry
  2. Derrick Allred
  3. Dan Pedersen


  1. Alex Meredith
  2. Cliff Gilman
  3. Dwayne Runyon


  1. John Fogleman
  2. Travis Brady
  3. Jimmy Damron


  1. Sandy Hatley
  2. Pammy Lassiter


  1. Kenny Welch (harmonica)


  1. Kyna Gunter
  2. Eliza Meyer
  3. Gary Hatley


  1. Connie Bowman
  2. Joanie Bailey
  3. Melissa Campbell

This year’s prizes included expanded categories in youth (15 years of age and under):

Youth Fiddle

  1. Hollace Oakes
  2. Benji Ferranti
  3. Alex Ferranti

Youth Guitar

  1. Elliot King
  2. JD Hussey

Youth Vocals

  1. Chelsea Edenfield
  2. JD Hussey

Youth Banjo

  1. Cameron Edenfield

Youth Mandolin

  1. Arthur Hayes

Youth Bass

  1. Alexander Hayes

Each year Star Fiddlers’ Convention gives a $100 prize to the Best Up & Coming Bluegrass Talent (under 15 years of age). Six-year-old fiddler, Bailey Ingram of Aberdeen, NC, received the award. The first grader, who has only been playing six months, fiddled Boil Them Cabbage Down to take home the prize.

The four-hour competition, held at Star Elementary School, included the presentation of the newly renamed (in 2023) Jim & Mary Callicutt Award, in honor of the longtime promoters of the event and first recipients of the award. Previously called the CV Richardson Memorial Award, the fiddlers’ convention was the brainchild of Mr. Richardson of Star High School’s PTA in 1926. The award is presented annually to someone who is dedicated to working and promoting the Star Fiddlers’ Convention. This year’s recipient was the writer of this article, Sandy Hatley.

“I love bluegrass music and the people who play it,” I shared when I was surprised with this great honor.

Star is also the hometown of Sister Sadie’s banjoist, Gena Britt. Her first banjo teacher, Charles Singleton, competed as did her nephew, William Britt, in this year’s convention.

Fiddlers’ conventions continue in central North Carolina with the 69th Seagrove Fiddlers’ Convention on March 16 in Seagrove, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Registration for the Randolph County talent show starts at 5:00 and runs until 6:45 p.m. $2,150 in cash prizes will be awarded to winners, with youth prizes mirroring the adult categories. A new category is being added this year to both age groups: harmony singing. The annual Alan Perdue Memorial Award will be presented to someone who has made significant contributions to the promotion of bluegrass music in our region. Admission is $10.00 for adults, $5 for children, 6-12. 

On April 6, the Annual Highfalls Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention will be held in North Moore High School’s auditorium near Robbins, NC. Competition kicks off at 6:00 p.m. Registration runs from 4:30 until 6:00 p.m. Over $1,800 will be awarded to winners in band, fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, singer, dancing, bass, dobro, piano/miscellaneous, and most promising talent. The Third Annual Theron Caviness Best Banjo Award will be presented in his memory. Admission is $10.00 for adults, $5 for children, 6-12.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.