38th Annual Banjo and Fiddle Contest

Lowell, MA
Saturday, September 8, 2018
10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Free Admission. Donations Welcome

Well folks, it is time to plan for an exciting day of traditional music and family fun at Boarding House Park. The Banjo & Fiddle Contest celebrates its 38th event on September 8, 2018, from 10:00AM to 6:00PM.


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Click here to VOLUNTEER,


The event is free for contestants, as well as all traditional music fans who would like to come and listen. Never been to a banjo and fiddle contest before? Bring your lawn chairs and settle in to watch the friendly competition and get in touch with our country's musical roots.

Jon Gersh of WUMB Folk Radio will be the Emcee for the contest and other exciting events of the day.

We will have a special musical performance by Sarangi Master Shyam Nepali at 2:30.

The fun starts at 10am! We'll have music workshops and jam sessions from 10AM-noon and then a whole afternoon full of a music contest and community. Parents arriving early should consider taking a free trolley ride at 10AM from the visitor center, visiting the family corner at the visitor center, and the Boott Cotton Mills Museum where kids can pick up a Jr. Ranger activity book. There will also be a kid's craft activity organized by the park rangers at the contest during the day.

10AM-11AM - Free Workshops
11AM-12PM - Organized Jam Sessions
11AM-1PM - Registration
1PM-3PM - Kids' Activities
2:30-2:50 PM - Special Performance by Shyam Nepali
12PM-5:30* - Banjo & Fiddle Contest
5:30*PM-6PM - Judges Tally Final Scores & Prizes Awarded

*Contest will end and judge tally begin when the final contestant has performed.

We are pleased to announce our judges for 2018. Tim Rowell will return for the second year and Harvard, Massachusetts fiddler Jon Anderson will be joining us as a judge for the first year.

Workshops (10-11 AM): We have four great workshops planned for Clawhammer Style Banjo (Tim Rowell), Old Time Fiddle Bowing (Jon Anderson), Bluegrass Fiddle (David Kassel) and Cajun Fiddle (Cathy Mason)

Organized Jams (11AM - Noon): We will have an organized Old Time Jam, led by Alan Kaufman, Bluegrass Jam with David Kassell and a Cajun Jam with Cathy Mason.

Throughout the day, while the contest progresses, informal jam sessions often happen in areas adjacent to the park and we sometimes have entertaining and surprise performances from the stage (besides the contestants).

Cash prizes will be awarded in 9 categories:

Old Time Fiddle
Old Time Banjo
Bluegrass Fiddle
Bluegrass Banjo
Ethnic Fiddle
Banjo (Other Styles)
Twin Fiddle
Banjo and Fiddle Duet
Youth (14 and under)

Cash prize values for each adult category: 1st-$100, 2nd-$50, 3rd-$25. For the Youth category cash prizes are 1st-$50, 2nd-$25, 3rd-$10.

Judging criteria include musicality (40%), technical competence (40%), tune difficulty (10%), start and stop strength (10%).

At Lowell National Historical Park, we honor the connections between past and present. At the Banjo & Fiddle Contest, we invite you to come celebrate musical heritage. The repertoire of tunes played during the Contest is what Folklorists refer to as traditional music-music practiced by groups of people who share a common ethnic heritage, geographic region, or way of life. Tunes are shared within families and communities and are passed on over generations.

Rain Location: Lowell High School Auditorium, 50 Fr. Morrissette Blvd., across the street from Boarding House Park.

For more info, contact: info@lowellbanjoandfiddlecontest.org


Series Sponsors


Lowell Summer Music Series

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