Folk Festival Parking and Schedule Changes
While the park helps the city prepare for and celebrate the Lowell Folk Festival, the Visitor Center parking lot at 304 Dutton St. will be closed Wed July 23-Mon July 28. Also check our Operating Hours page for changes to tour and exhibit schedules. More »
34th Annual Banjo and Fiddle Contests
Contact: Marieke Slovin, 978-275-1784
Contact: Phil Lupsiewicz, 978-275-1705
Lowell National Historical Park
2013 Banjo & Fiddle Contest Winners
Southern Appalachian Old Time Fiddle
1st:Eden Forman, Gloucester
2nd :Cathy Mason, Melrose
3rd :Bach Bui, Cambridge
Southern Appalachian Old Time Banjo
1st:Lukas Pool, Medford
2nd :Tim Rowell, Marblehead
3rd :John Reddick, Lexington
1st:Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, Jamaica Plain
2nd :Sarah Hubbard, Westfield
3rd :Dave Reiner, Lexington
1st:Gabe Hirshfeld, Newton
2nd :Joe DePasquale, Brookline
3rd :Matt Witler, Boston
Banjo & Fiddle (any style)
1st:Eden Forman, Gloucester & Lukas Pool, Medford
2nd :Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, Jamaica Plain & Matt Witler, Boston
3rd :Sadie Curry, Boston & Jordan Alleman, Brighton
1st:Natalya Trudeau, Lowell
2nd :Kathleen Parks, Boston
3rd :Adrienne Howard, Beverly
1st:Fiona Henry & Natalya Trudeau, Lowell
2nd :Carol A. Kycia & Aram Hollman, Arlington
3rd :Benjamin & Delaney Foss, Rehoboth
Youth (12 and under)
1st:Theo Bester, Reading
2nd :Cordelia L. Rozmiarek, Beverly
3rd :Ceiligh Cacho-Negrete, Amesbury
34th Annual Banjo & Fiddle Contest
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Boarding House Park
Reels & jigs, breakdowns, hornpipes and waltzes will fill the air!
At Lowell National Historical Park, we honor the stories of the past in a modern setting. The Banjo & Fiddle Contest is one way we pay tribute to our nation’s musical heritage. Created in 1980 by recently retired park ranger Alex Demas, the Banjo & Fiddle Contest celebrates its 34th year on September 7, 2013. The event is free for contestants and traditional music fans who wish to come and listen.
Judges will evaluate contestants on the following criteria: stylistic authenticity, intonation, musicality, rhythm/danceability, and tone. Cash prizes will be awarded for eight categories: Southern Appalachian Old Time Fiddle, Southern Appalachian Old Time Banjo, Bluegrass Fiddle, Bluegrass Banjo, Banjo & Fiddle (any style) Northern Fiddle, Twin Fiddle, and Youth (12 and under).
A bit of history:
The repertoire of tunes played during the Banjo and Fiddle Contest is what Folklorists refer to as traditional music—music practiced by groups of people who share a common ethnic heritage, language, religion, geographic region, or way of life. Typically, traditional music is learned during the course of daily life from someone steeped in the tradition, rather than through formal classes, books, or other methods of formal instruction. Tunes are shared within families and community of many cultures and geographic regions and are passed on over many generations.
Traditional music on stringed instruments has been played in America since the early 17th century. Learned and passed on primarily by ear, tunes played on fiddles, banjos, and guitars were historically essential for local dances, special events, and social gatherings. Regional and ethnic styles developed throughout the country. As the ethnic makeup of New England’s population diversified, so did the music of the area’s fiddle and banjo players. Styles of playing and tune repertoires developed regionally with each new wave of immigration, e.g., Yankee, Irish, Scottish, French Canadian, and Cape Breton.
Contests to determine the “best” musician began taking place in the early 19th century. These contests were entertaining, community events and provided great local pride to the community with the musician who brought home the first prize. Some of our country’s best-known contests include The Atlanta Fiddlers’ Convention (established in 1913), Henry Ford’s fiddle contests (1926), The National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho (1953), Vermont’s Craftsbury Common (1962), and The Appalachian String Band Music Festival (a.k.a. Clifftop, 1989).
The Banjo and Fiddle Contest at Lowell National Historical Park promises to provide an engaging venue for musicians and traditional music enthusiasts. We hope you will join us for this day of music, food, and family fun!
Schedule of Events:
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Informal jam sessions
10-12 p.m. Kids' Activity (while informal jam sessions are going on) Create your own creative musical instruments using recycled materials
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Registration
12:00-5:30 p.m. Banjo and Fiddle Contest
5:30-5:45 p.m. Judges tally final scores; Performance by the Roots Music Review, Berklee College of Music
5:45-6:00 p.m. Prizes awarded
Follow this link for Contest Rules and Registration:
Click here for a direct link to contest rules and registration.
The Lowell Banjo & Fiddle Contest is part of the Lowell Summer Music Series. Major support for this event is provided by the Lowell Festival Foundation and Lowell National Historical Park, which includes staff from Curatorial, Special Events, Maintenance, and Interpretation.
Did You Know?
There were female and male overseers in the mills of Lowell in the 19th century. In Rev. Henry Miles' book, Lowell As It Was, and As It Is, he mentions that the Boott Cotton Mills has recently opened a new weave room and it is being overseen by two women overseers. More...