Great Southern Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention Is March 15

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Fiddlers-WG Keith,Gid Tanner,AA Gray,Henry West in 1919.
Fiddlers-WG Keith,Gid Tanner,AA Gray,Henry West in 1919.

The Chattanooga Old Fiddlers’ Association will host the Great Southern Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention Saturday, March 15. The event will begin at noon and be held in historic Lindsay Street Hall at 901 Lindsay St. in downtown Chattanooga.  

The event will include performances as well as contests as the "top old time musicians of the south" compete for top honors and cash prizes in categories such as old time banjo, dance, traditional song and string band. The main event, however, is the old time fiddle competition, where fiddlers from half a dozen states let the rosin fly as they battle each other with fiddle and bow for the honor of Champion Fiddler of the South.

The contest began in Chattanooga in 1925 and has a long and rich history, regularly drawing all the best musicians from the southeast. A local musician, Matt Downer, revived the event in 2010. “Gid Tanner, Clayton McMichen, Uncle Dave Macon – all the big names in early recorded string band music, they all made it a yearly tradition to come here to Chattanooga and compete against some of our best local fiddlers like ‘Sawmill’ Tom Smith, Jess Young and Lowe Stokes,” Mr. Downer said, “Anytime you can reach back 80 years into your city’s musical past and bring back a piece of that history, it is really something special. This music, old time music, is just as alive, relevant and important today as it was back when the event started. If you turn on your radio today, a lot of what you would hear is dance music. Old time music is a link in the chain - it has been played as dance music for centuries. This type of history isn’t kept behind glass or in museums and such – this is living history, this is the people’s music.”

Admission is $10 and children under 12 are admitted free. Contest registration is free with paid admission. Food and drinks will be available and the public is cordially invited to come and experience the southern tradition. 

For more information visit or the Facebook event page -!/events/230109543837975/.

Great Southern fiddlers
Great Southern fiddlers

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