Carolina Hills Fiddle Fest comes to Union Grove

Union Grove, NC will be the home for a new bluegrass festival this May when Blake Farms Family RV Resort hosts the inaugural Carolina Hills Fiddle Fest.

Union Grove has a long and important history in bluegrass and old time music as the site of the fabled Union Grove Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention, going back to 1924. The festival eventually grew to accommodate as many as 100,000 people in the 1960s, and led to a separate, invitation-only event being launched in 1970 for the musicians and true fans, as the original convention came to be taken over by partiers.

The Union Grove Fiddler’s Convention was initially hosted at the Union Grove School, and held as a fund raiser to construct a new school building. In 1969 it was moved to VanHoy Farms, located not far from the Blake Farms park.

The Fiddle Fest will combine a traditional bluegrass festival environment with both youth and adult competition over four days time. Thursday, May 23, will start with stage performances from two groups of local musicians, Carolina Detour and the Carolina Hills Band, culminating in a set from Lonesome River Band.

Friday will be dedicated to the youth instrumental competitions, and Saturday to adult contests for individuals and bands. Awards will be announced at the end of each competition day. Then Sunday afternoon things close out with a gospel sing with the Gaining Ground Gospel Band.

For the youth contests, categories will include:

  • Youth Fiddle
  • Youth Banjo
  • Youth Guitar
  • Youth Mandolin
  • Youth Bass
  • Youth Band

The adult categories include the following:

  • Bluegrass Fiddle
  • Old Time Fiddle
  • Bluegrass Banjo
  • Old Time Banjo
  • Guitar
  • Mandolin
  • Dobro
  • Bass
  • Vocal
  • Dulcimer
  • Autoharp
  • Bluegrass Band
  • Old Time Band

Both contests will also name a best all around performer award. Each registered entrant may compete in two categories, plus a band. More than $3,500 in prize money will be on the line, including $250 each for the best in show awards.

Full RV hookups and dry camping sites can be reserved inside the park, which also offers bath houses, a dog park, fishing pond, swimming pond, putt putt golf course, and more.

Full details about this first ever Carolina Hills Fiddle Fest can be found online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.