39th Annual Banjo and Fiddle Contest

Lowell, MA
Saturday, September 7, 2019
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 39th event on September 7, 2019, from 10:00AM to 6:00PM.


There is no advanced registration for the the contest. Click on the link above to download the registration packet if you want to print it and fill it out at home. Please read the contest rules before you make your final preparations to compete.

Click here to DONATE,

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 are pleased to announce this year's contest judges will be fiddle and banjo duet recording artists Jon Anderson and Tom Collins. Each of them will also teach a workshop before the contest.

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%).

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 activities. 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
12PM-5:30* - Banjo & Fiddle Contest
1PM-3PM - Kid's Craft Activities
2:30PM-2:50PM - Youth Musical Performance
5:30*PM-6PM - Judges Tally Final Scores & Prizes Awarded

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

Workshops (10-11 AM):
Clawhammer Style Banjo (Tom Collins)
Old Time Fiddle (Jon Anderson)
Irish Fiddle (Adrienne Howard)
Bluegrass Fiddle (David Kassel)

Organized Jams (11AM - Noon):
Celtic /New England Jam with Adrienne Howard and Dave Fox
Bluegrass Jam with David Kassel
Old Time Jam with Alan Kaufman

Throughout the day, while the contest progresses, informal jam sessions often happen in areas adjacent to the park.

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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