53rd Annual Fiddlers Convention Set for October 3-5, 2019

Fiddlers on Founders GreenAthens State University will host the 53rd annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention, presented by Huntsville International Airport, from October 3-5 at the school’s campus in Athens, Alabama. Musical competitions will be held on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Main Stage in front of Founders Hall and the Aetos Systems Stage at Brown Hall. Over $18,000 in prize money will 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 4, resume at 8:30 am on Saturday, October 5, and conclude with the crowning of the Fiddle Champion on Saturday night.

Bill Jones, from Covington, Georgia, was named the Alabama State Fiddle Champion at last year’s convention. He won the “Fiddle Off,” which pits the top fiddlers from the junior, intermediate, and senior divisions against each other for the prestigious title. This year’s fiddle champ will earn a total of $1,200 in cash and a trophy, along with bragging rights.


Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper will perform on Thursday, October 3 at 7:00 pm during a free “Preview Night” to kick off the convention. The complimentary concert will take place on the Alabama Farmer’s Cooperative Main Stage and will be open to the public.

Bluegrass legend, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, will take over the Alabama Farmer’s Cooperative Main Stage for a second straight year and will perform shows at 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm on Friday, October 4. With a career that spans over 50 years, Skaggs has racked up 15 Grammys and 12 #1 hits, making him one of the greatest bluegrass artists of all time.

Athens, Alabama native, Bradley Walker and the Lonesome River Band, will wrap up the entertainment portion of the convention with a performance at 6:00 pm on Saturday, October 5 on the Alabama Farmer’s Cooperative Main Stage.

Arts, Crafts, and Food Vendors

Approximately 150 booths featuring old-fashioned arts and crafts are part of the convention. Convention goers will see everything from traditional artwork to coal-fired metal works.  Food vendors will also be on hand to provide anything from a quick snack to a full meal.


Cost of admission is $15 per adult for Friday, $15 per adult for Saturday, or $20 per adult for a weekend pass. Children under 12 will be admitted free with a paid adult. Tickets can be purchased online or are available from the Athens State Business Office located in Founders Hall at 300 North Beaty Street.

Airstream Rally

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 athensairstreamrally@gmail.comEncoded.

Concert Series:

Can’t wait until October to get your Fiddlers fix? You’re in luck! The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Concert Series has been giving bluegrass lovers the chance to enjoy the sounds of old-time music throughout the year. Remaining concerts in the 2019 series include:

  • Thursday, July 25 – Carpenter & May
  • Thursday, September 26 – Nashville Bluegrass Band
  • Tuesday, October 1 – Mandolin Workshop hosted by Tony Robertson & David Henry

All concerts will take place at 7:00 pm in McCandless Hall on the campus of Athens State University. Admission is $10 per person. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.tvotfc.org or www.eventbrite.com.