Star shines bright with the return of Fiddler’s Convention

Band competition winners Southern Blend at the 2023 Star Fiddlers’ Convention

“It was fantastic! We did not expect this many people. We had a really good crowd,” shared Mary Callicutt of the Halcyon’s Women’s Club, sponsor for the 96th annual Star Fiddlers’ Convention.

Between 250 and 300 people poured into the elementary school in Star, North Carolina, on Saturday night to hear the bluegrass talent contest. The convention’s last gathering was held in March 2020, just a week prior to the shuttering of school events due to the global pandemic. The musical competition resumed this year, returning to its original site.

Performers came from near and far to compete for the $1,500 in cash prizes. Brooklyn Nicole traveled from Wharton, WV to enter the competition. Her journey netted her two awards. There were also entries from Boone to Raleigh, and Winston-Salem to Rockingham. Contestants ranged in age from 10-92.

Callicutt and her husband, Jim, of Star were honored and surprised by receiving the CV Richardson Memorial Award. The couple has labored over three decades to make the fiddlers’ convention an annual success.

Winners for this year’s event were:


  1. Southern Blend
  2. Black Ankle Boys
  3. Axe Handlers


  1. Keith Dunn
  2. Kayleigh Stills
  3. Gary Hatley


  1. Matthew Nance
  2. Danny Bowers
  3. Noah Stills


  1. Luke Vuncannon
  2. Brooklyn Nicole
  3. Caleb Munson


  1. Wayne Runyon
  2. Angel Paez
  3. William Britt


  1. John Fogleman
  2. Jeff Rumsey
  3. Bailey Wagner


  1. Sandy Hatley
  2. Pammy Lassiter


  1. Brooklyn Nicole
  2. Bailey Wagner
  3. Mike McCollum

Dance (19-49)

  1. Taylor Lingren
  2. Brad Davis
  3. Melissa Campbell

Dance (+50)

  1. Jimmie Harrington (92 years old)

Best Up & Coming Bluegrass Talent (under 15 years of age) – Alexander Ferranti, young fiddler from Raleigh (10 years old)

Fiddlers’ conventions continue with the Seagrove Fiddlers’ Convention on March 18 in Seagrove, NC, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Registration for the Randolph County talent show starts at 5:00 and runs until 6:45 p.m. $1,200 in cash prizes will be awarded to winners. The annual Alan Perdue Memorial Award will be presented to someone who has made significant contributions to the promotion of bluegrass music in the region. Admission is $10.00 for adults, $5 for children, 6-12. 

On April 1, the 85th 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 Second 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.