This year’s Appalachian String Band Music Festival, featuring some of the best fiddlers and banjo pickers in the world is set for Aug. 3-7. The five-day camping experience in the heart of West Virginia also includes music contests, dancing, arts and crafts and games for the whole family.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s 27th annual music festival will be held at Camp Washington-Carver in Clifftop, Fayette County. The popular annual festival draws thousands of string-band musicians and fans from across the country and around the world for its concerts, dancing, workshops and contests in which musicians and dancers can win prizes of up to $700.
Tyler Andal, who won the Robert C. Byrd award for traditional fiddle playing at the Grand Master Fiddler Championship in Nashville, TN, will be a featured performer. On Saturday, Aug. 6, Andal will present an afternoon master’s showcase. He also has won both the Tennessee and Alabama state banjo contests as well as the National Claw Hammer Grand Master Banjo Championship.
Andal joins grand masters Frank George of Walton, WV and Walt Koken of Avondale, PA, who will be featured in masters workshops/performances at the festival.
More than 30 arts, craft and music vendors will be on site along with food vendors, and fresh produce will be for sale.
Contests include fiddle and banjo on Thursday, Aug. 4, neo-traditional band on Friday, Aug. 5, and traditional band and flatfoot dance on Saturday, Aug. 6. Senior (60 and over) and youth (15 and under) categories are available in the fiddle and banjo contests. A youth award is available in both the band contests for groups with all members 18 years old or younger. The neo-traditional band contest also provides an award for best original song and tune. The flatfoot dance contest makes awards in four age categories.
Throughout the week, festival-goers can step onto the dance floor to learn flatfoot dancing and square dancing. Nightly square dances in the historic Great Chestnut Lodge from Wednesday through Saturday and outdoor concerts on Friday and Saturday evening are popular attractions. Highlights for children and families include arts and crafts, basket making, daily yoga sessions, bingo, family films, Three Rivers Avian Center Demonstration and more.
Daily admission is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors (age 60 and over) and youth (age 6 – 17). Children five and under get in free. Rough camping for the five-day festival is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $45 for adults, $40 for seniors and youth, $90 per family (two adults and any number of children under the age of 18) and $80 per senior family (two adults 60 years old or more and any number of children under the age of 18). Early camping starts July 29 at 1 p.m., and additional fees apply. The rough-camping rate and daily admission fee include admission to all activities.
For more information about the Appalachian String Band Music Festival or a complete schedule of events, visit the division’s website at www.wvculture.org/stringband/index.html or Camp Washington-Carver at 304-438-3005.