Another great year has just concluded at the National Oldtime Fiddler’s Contest and Festival in Weiser, Idaho. New this year, folks all over the world could tune in on their computers and watch the main stage as it happens since the Festival has teamed up with Concert Window to live stream the main stage events. Folks can also sign up way in advance for their Concert Window streaming for next year by going to www.ConcertWindow.com.
But although the main stage is now available to folks from all over the planet through on line technologies, I still recommend going there in person. So much of the fun, magic, and the music at Weiser is not on the stage, but all over the grounds. It is one of the best festivals for live pickin’ and jammin’ in the country. As people stroll through the campgrounds they will find bluegrass, old time, Texas Swing, various styles of acoustic jazz, and contest style playing. They will also meet some of the nicest folks around as well.
There are a huge selection of workshops offered the week before the festival officially starts as well as the week of the festival in various locations and on all sorts of instruments and some folk arts as well. They also have the certified contests where previous winners from other festivals can come and be really fun and entertaining and less serious. There are also some bands of folks who perform between the contests that add to the musical experience.
The fiddle contests are divided to group fiddlers by age groups (there are plenty of hot pickers from very young to very old who come every year to try their luck). The contestants are also divided by styes like Swing and Twin Fiddlin’, which have their own categories, and the coveted Grand Champion category. There is an impressive amount of prize money involved in the contests and loads of folks making friends, networking, teaching and learning music, and having an all around great time for two weeks every year. I was told by many in attendance that the festival is always one of the highlights of their year.
Here are a few videos and photos to help you hear and see some of the fun.
Shelby Rae Murdock (and friends) in the Certified Division Tuesday night
10 year old CJ Neary playing Redwing in the contest.
Winners of the Twin Fiddling Contest.
9 year old Junior-Junior contestant Teo Quake
Junior Jammers entertain between contest rounds.
Tristan Clarridge here in Grand Champion contest round one. He ended up taking 2nd place.