37th Banjo and Fiddle Contest September 9, 2017

B & F Contest
The bears are back.

Bust out your banjos, flex your fiddles, and come hang out at Boarding House Park for a day of traditional music and family fun. The Banjo & Fiddle Contest celebrates its 37th event on September 9, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The event is free for contestants, as well as all traditional music fans who'd 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.

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.

Come for the fiddles, stay for the fun! We'll have jam sessions and music workshops 10 a.m.-noon, and then a whole afternoon full of music and community. Drop by the Lowell National Historical Park tent (with the arrowhead) during the jam sessions for free fun crafts and activities.

Day Schedule
10AM-11AM - Free Workshops
11AM-12PM - Organized Jam Sessions
11AM-1PM - Registration
12PM-5:30* - Banjo & Fiddle Contest
2PM-4PM - Kids' Activities
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): So far we have workshops planned for Clawhammer Style Banjo (Tim Rowell) and Old Time Fiddle (Alan Kaufman), with more in the works. Check back soon for more details.

Organized Jams: We will have an organized Old Time Jam, plus one or two others TBD. Check back soon for more details.

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

Contest 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 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).

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

Boarding House Park Location: 40 French Street, Lowell, MA

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

More information and regitration packets can be found here.

Free parking is available at the Visitor Center parking lot at 304 Dutton Street (about a 10 minute walk to Boardinghouse Park). Paid parking is available in the city garage at the corner of French and John Streets, directly across the street from Boardinghouse Park.

Last updated: August 16, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

67 Kirk Street
Lowell, MA 01852


(978) 970-5000

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