On February 7th our class took a field trip to the 7th annual Appalachian State University Fiddler’s Convention in Boone, NC. This event is coordinated by only 15 to 20 ASU students each year. After attending a clogging/flatfooting workshop taught by Rodney Sutton (a member of the Green Grass Cloggers), we were able to watch the music competitions. There were performers from several states including Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and even some from Georgia.
The first competition we watched was the banjo. Next, we watched the string band competition that also included some singing. This was probably my favorite part of the whole day.
There were musicians of all ages in the string bands but more young people than I expected. The first two groups in the pictures above consisted solely of children and teenagers (except the man on the right in the first picture who was their instructor).
One of the bands struck me as pure, “traditional” bluegrass because it was an all-male group that had all five of the “traditional” bluegrass instruments (guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and upright bass).
After the string band competition there was a dancing competition. There were only four participants but it was still fun to watch.
After the dancing competition we ended the day with a performance by the Green Grass Cloggers, seen in the picture below.
This field trip was a great way to experience the culture surrounding bluegrass music and learn how to be an active, instead of passive, listener.