The Fries Volunteer Fire Department in Fries, VA (pronounced “freeze”) has announced that the popular fiddlers convention they have hosted this past 56 years will not be held going forward. They say that unforeseen circumstances, as well as time and financial constraints, have forced them to reach this unfortunate conclusion.
People in southwestern Virginia have made this event a major stop on the convention circuit each summer, but it appears that a number of decisions made by management, and the COVID shutdowns in 2020, dug a hole that was too deep for them to crawl out of. A couple of location switches over the past decade, and a change in date to just a week before the massive Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, seem to have led to continually decreasing attendance, and the Department wasn’t in a position to continue to hold the convention as a money loosing operation.
It’s a great loss for bluegrass/old time players and enthusiasts in the mid-Atlantic region, plus the people in Fries, and TV station WSLS in Roanoke aired this brief report with some reactions.
In announcing the cancellation, the Fries Volunteer Fire Department admitted that they share the disappointment of the musicians and the local community. The convention was for years a primary fundraiser for their efforts to protect homes and properties in Fries from fire damage, and its dwindling income in recent years has affected their budgets as well.
The Department also expressed its deep appreciation for all the people who had supported this convention over the years.
A sad end of an era.