Tara goes to Weiser 2015

Marjorie McFaul won the award for the oldest competitor at Weiser 2015 - photo by Tara LinhardtWell, June is a month of great music festivals all over the country, but one of my favorites is definitely The National Old Time Fiddlers’ Contest and Festival in Weiser, Idaho. Top notch musicians from all over the country descend on the tiny little town and set up camp in the various campgrounds, and two weeks of hot amazing music on stages and off is the result. There are stage areas all around the town and schedules for performances and workshops in the Museums, down in city park (called The Bluegrass Village), in the campgrounds, and in the High School where the big contests take place. They also provide a “fiddle bus” to take people around to the various spots and to some other local fun spots.

A cool thing about Weiser is that the musicians camping there also take the initiative and set up their own workshops and some smaller contests and events in the campgrounds throughout the time they are there. The campgrounds are filled with bluegrass, old time, western swing, and acoustic swing music with some of the finest pickers around. There is a banjo contest now and the informal late-night fun-loving Fiddletown Twin Fiddling Contest. This year there was a acoustic swing jazz mandolin orchestra added to the line up at the Monday night dance at the Museum. Even the main stage has fun with Certified Contest winners doing showcase performances where they are going for funnest/most entertaining, best costumes, and fanciest fiddling categories.

Mando fun under the stars with  John Rosett and Becky Smith at Weiser 2015 - photo by Tara LinhardtThe contestants range from 4 to 90 years old and are separated into categories by age, and then there are also categories of Twin Fiddlin’, Swing Fiddlin’, and the ultimate prize of the National Grand Champion with its prize of $1500, a trophy, and an embroidered jacket. Even the accompanists to the fiddlers can try for award money in the accompaniment category. The festival also prints the blank score sheets that the judges see and are judging on right in the program, which seems like a really cool and fair idea so people know what they are being scored on specifically, both those that are competing and those simplye watching the contests.

But talking about music is not nearly as helpful or fun as actually seeing and hearing some of what goes on for oneself, so I will throw a few clips in here for you to get a little taste.

Here is a clip of 12 year old Ridge Roberts who won the Junior-Junior division.


Here are a few of the Twin Fiddle contestants in action. The first clip has the women who ended up winning the Twin Fiddlin Contest.




Here is Katie Glassman who won the Swing Fiddle Contest.


For more information and details about the festival one may check out the official website at www.fiddlecontest.org.

Fiddle kids in the Fiddletown campground at Weiser 2015 - photo by Tara LinhardtAlso loads of folks play bluegrass just like the rest of the country does, but there is also a sound and history of each regions traditional musics and the West and northwest are no exception. For folks who are interested in learning about the great traditions and history and hearing samples of fine traditional fiddle tune music of the Northwestern US, one can visit www.VoyagerRecords.com where they have around 320 tunes recorded from 110 different fiddlers from all over the northwest, available for free download along with histories, quotes etc.

For those specifically interested in Western Swing style music there is also www.nwwsms.com with histories, audio and video clips, instructional materials, upcoming events listings, publications, and a way to become a member and stay abreast of all sorts of things.

And here are the full lists of all the proud winners.

Nation Grand Champion Division

  1. Luke Price  (29) – Portland, OR
  2. Tristan Clarridge (28) – Kensington, CA
  3. Katrina Nicolayeff  (35) – Meridian, ID
  4. Jesse Maw  (23) – Kalispell, MT
  5. Tashina Clarridge  (33) – Mt. Shasta, CA
  6. Katie Glassman  (34) – Denver, CO
  7. Laura Waters  (19) – Idaho Falls, ID
  8. Harrison Schumann  (18) – San Antonio, TX


Adult Division

  1. Megan Lynch-Chowning  (40) – Goodlettsville, TN
  2. Vi Wickam  (39) – Fort Collins, CO
  3. Nancy Padilla  (57) – Bozeman, MT
  4. Gayla Bollinger  (39) – Boise, ID
  5.  Cody Stadelmaier  (43) – Fort Collins, CO


Young Adult Division

  1. Natalie Koob  (26) – Frisco, CO
  2. Tabitha Snell  (18) – Rigby, ID
  3. Josiah Nelson  (18) – Windsor, CO
  4. Shelby Rae Russell  (20) – Ammon, ID
  5. Kian Dye  (19) – Portland, OR


Junior Division

  1. Celeste Johnson  (16) – Arvada, CO
  2. Josh Partridge  (17) – Rigby, ID
  3. Andrew Lin  (16) – Lexington,, KY
  4. River Lee  (14) – The Woodlands, TX
  5. Vance Voetberg  (15) – Chehalis, WA


Junior-Junior Division

  1. Ridge Roberts  (12) – Greenburg, TX
  2. Annika Bennion  (12) – Sidney, MT
  3. Dylon Fehrs  (12) – Caldwell, ID
  4. Grace Partridge  (10) – Rigby, ID
  5. C.J. Neary  (9) – Bend, OR


Small Fry Division

  1. Logan Davis  (8) – Rigby, ID
  2. Matteo Quale  (8) – Alameda, CA
  3. Tarquin Bennion  (8) – Sidney, MT
  4. Leo High  (8) – Blackfoot, ID
  5. Eliza Beck  (8) – Boise, ID


Senior Division

  1. John Francis  (60) – Salt Lake City, UT
  2. B. Starr McMullen  (63) – Corvallis, OR
  3. Aaron Lowe  (60) – Spokane, WA
  4. Mike Oenbring  (62) – Granite Falls, WA
  5. Gene Banks  (65) – Athens, TX

Senior-Senior Division

  1. Hughie Smith  (82) – Bakersfield, CA
  2. Vivian Williams  (77) – Seattle, WA
  3. Duane Stephens  (73) – Grangeville, ID
  4. Mabel Vogt  (72) – Potlatch, ID
  5. Donna Foreman  (78) – Estacada, OR
  6. Marjorie McFaul  (90) – Spokane, WA


Swing Fiddle 18 and over Division

  1. Katie Glassman  (34) – Denver, CO
  2. Luke Price  (29) – Portland, OR
  3. Karl Kummerle  (28) – New Orleans, LA
  4. Jesse Maw  (23) – Kalispell, MT
  5. Paul Anastasio  (62) – Shoreline, WA


Swing Fiddle 17 and under Division

  1. Justin Sherfey  (17) – Spokane, WA
  2. C.J. Neary  (9) – Bend, OR
  3. Ben Shu  (17) – Mesa, AZ
  4. Celeste Pena  (14) – Palo Cedro, CA
  5. Cara DiGiovanni  (16) – Greenbrier, TN


Twin Fiddle Division

  1. Nancy Padilla & Natalie Koob
  2. Tallon Sandoval & Johene McDonald
  3. Shawn Drake & Georgia Rae Mussared
  4. Vi Wickam & Justin Branum
  5. Josiah Nelson & Celeste Johnson
  6. Tabitha Gholi & Eileen Walter


Certified Winners – June 22, 2015 

  • Best Costume: Mary Lynn Keller – Nampa, ID
  • Fanciest Fiddler: Josh Partridge – Rigby, ID
  • Best Male Entertainer: Samuel Conklin – Bend, OR
  • Best Female Entertainer: Mabel Vogt – Potlatch, ID

Certified Winners – June 23, 2015 

  • Best Costume: Tabitha Gholi – West Linn, OR
  • Fanciest Fiddler: Vi Wickam – Fort Collins, CO
  • Best Male Entertainer: Justin Sherfey – Spokane, WA
  • Best Female Entertainer: Jeanine Orme – Beaverton, OR

Certified Winners – June 24, 2015 

  • Best Costume: Luke Allison – Bend, OR
  • Fanciest Fiddler: Tenaya Cooley – Eugene, OR
  • Best Male Entertainer: Dylon Fehrs – Caldwell, ID
  • Best Female Entertainer: Lanie Shippy – Caldwell, ID

Accompanist for 2015

  1. Matthew Hartz (backed up 95 people)
  2. Darin Meeks (backed up 86 people)
  3. Rod Anderson (backed up 76 people)
  4. John Frances (backed up 50 people)
  5. Drew Miller (backed up 47 people)