Common Ground events to remain virtual in 2021

Common Ground on the Hill in Maryland has announced that their major summer events this year will remain virtual as a result of uncertainties about COVID-19 restrictions. That includes their popular Deer Creek Fiddler’s Convention and the three Traditions Weeks of classes and workshops.

The Fiddler’s Convention is set to run online next Sunday, June 6, on the Common Ground YouTube channel. All competitors are asked to submit video links for the instrumental, dance and vocal categories by midnight on May 30. There will be no band competition this year. Competitor videos will be shown on the 6th, when they will be judged, with prizes awarded for first, second, and third place.

Categories to be judged include:

  • Appalachian Dance & Clogging
  • Bass
  • Bluegrass Banjo
  • Bluegrass Fiddle
  • Celtic Instrumentalist
  • Dulcimer, Hammered
  • Dulcimer, Mountain
  • Guitar
  • Mandolin
  • Old-Time Banjo
  • Old-Time Fiddle
  • Special Performer (any instrument not otherwise categorized)
  • Vocal
  • Ukulele
  • Wind & Free Reed Instrument
  • Young Performer

Prizes are awarded in each category, with the banjo, guitar, mandolin, and fiddle winners receiving instruments donated by sponsors, and all winners get free tuition to Traditions Weeks courses. There is no fee to register for the contests.

Walt Michael, Common Ground on the Hill Executive Director, says that while the staff is sorry that they can’t host the competition in person, they see a silver lining in having it open worldwide.

“We’re disappointed that we can’t be in the same space with people because of COVID but it’s opened it up to people from all over the world. We’ve had contestants from Norway, Scotland, California, Tennessee – it’s pretty cool.”

Traditions Weeks will be held over three consecutive periods from June 28 through July 16. Different courses are taught in each week, with different instructors as well. You can see the various offerings online:

Check the class schedules to see what courses are available. The variety and number is a bit overwhelming, but classes are broken down into tracks designed to cater to specific interests, such as specific instruments, visual arts, songwriting, luthiery, and many others.

Full details about costs and registrations 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.