After taking a year off due to COVID-19, Athens State University is preparing to welcome old-time music lovers of all ages to campus again this fall for the 2021 Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention, presented by Aetos Systems, Inc.
The convention will run from Thursday, September 30 through Saturday, October 2. Musical competitions will be held on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Main Stage in front of Founders Hall and at the Brown Hall stage with over $19,000 in prize money to be awarded. Proceeds from the convention fund student scholarships and other university projects throughout the year.
Historically, the convention has attracted more than 15,000 people for the Friday and Saturday competitions, with more than 200 musicians participating. There are 19 different categories of competition, including several fiddle and guitar categories, Harmonica, Mandolin, Bluegrass Banjo, Dobro, Dulcimer, Old Time Singing, Old Time Banjo, and Buck Dancing.
The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention is the home of the Alabama State Fiddle Champion and Alabama State Champion categories including Harmonica, Bluegrass Banjo, Dulcimer, Old Time Banjo, Classic Old-Time Fiddler, Buck Dancing, Mandolin, Dobro, Old Time Singing, Guitar – Finger Picking, Guitar – Flat Picking, Bluegrass Band, and Old Time Band. The winners in all of these categories shall for that year be known as the Alabama State Champions, respectively. Competitions will begin at 7:00 pm on Friday, October 1, resume at 8:30 am on Saturday, October 2, and conclude with the crowning of the Fiddle Champion on Saturday night.
Due to unexpected inclement weather at the 2019 convention in addition to cancelations in 2020 due to COVID-19, an Alabama State Fiddle Champion has not been named in two years. This year, the winner of the “Fiddle Off,” which pits the top fiddlers from the junior, intermediate, and senior divisions against each other for the prestigious title, will earn a total of $1,800 in cash and a trophy, along with bragging rights.
Volume Five will perform on Thursday, September 30 at 7:00 pm during a free “Preview Night” to kick off the convention. The complimentary concert will take place on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Main Stage and will be open to the public.
This year’s headliners will perform back-to-back on Friday, October 1, starting with Gospel Music Association and Country Music Association Hall of Fame member, Jimmy Fortune, at 5:00 pm followed by the “Rockstars of Bluegrass,” Dailey & Vincent, at 6:00 pm. Both concerts will take place on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Main Stage.
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will wrap up the entertainment portion of the convention with a performance at 5:00 pm on Saturday, October 2 on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Main Stage.
Access to all Fiddlers Convention entertainment is included with the purchase of an admission ticket.
Bank Independent Cash Giveaway
Convention guests will also have the opportunity to enter the annual Bank Independent Cash Giveaway. This year, the cash prizes will be bigger than ever (Thursday – $500, Friday – $1,000, Saturday – $1,000) and lucky winners will be drawn at the end of each evening.
Arts, Crafts, and Food Vendors
Approximately 150 booths featuring old-fashioned arts and crafts will be open for business in the Nanny’s Old Fashioned Lemonade Craft Vendor Area. Convention-goers will see everything from traditional artwork to coal-fired metal works. Food vendors will also be on hand at the Pepsi Food Court to provide anything from a quick snack to a full meal.
The cost of admission is $15 per adult for Friday, $15 per adult for Saturday, or $20 per adult for a weekend pass. The Volume Five concert scheduled for Thursday night is free and does not require the purchase of an admission ticket. Children under 12 will be admitted free with a paid adult. Tickets can be purchased online at www.TVOTFC.org or www.eventbrite.com. The purchase of an admission ticket includes access to all convention entertainment, events, and activities.
The Alabama Unit of the Wally Byam Airstream Club will host a Special Event Rally at Athens State University to coincide with the Fiddlers Convention again this year. Holding the rally in Athens will give event-goers the opportunity to experience the rich culture and history of the city as well as enjoy all of the excitement the Fiddlers Convention has to offer. For further information about this year’s rally, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help kick off the 2021 Fiddlers Convention, there will be a performance from Darin & Brooke Aldridge on Tuesday, September 28 at 7:00 pm as part of The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Concert Series. The concert will take place at 7:00 pm in McCandless Hall on the campus of Athens State University. Admission is $15 per person. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.TVOTFC.org or www.eventbrite.com.
For more information about the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention, please visit www.TVOTFC.org or call the Athens State Office of University Advancement at (256) 233-8215.
This project is supported through funding provided by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area.