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For the week of April 17 - 23, 2002

  Arts & Entertainment

‘Old Time’ fiddlers come to Hailey

Express Arts Editor

If it’s spring, it must be fiddlin’ time. For Hailey will once again host the Idaho Old Time Fiddlers’ State Contest.

The Old Time Fiddlers are familiar faces to valley residents. Here, two of them perform at the pancake breakfast during last year’s Wagon Days celebration.

The 2002 competition will draw fiddlers from all over the state to play together, compete and share their music with people new to the genre.

The three-day event, held in several venues, begins Thursday and runs through Saturday night.

The fiddle fest begins with "Fiddlin’ ’Round Town" Thursday morning at 10. Groups of three to five fiddlers will fan out through Hailey to perform for the public. Players will appear at banks, grocery markets, schools and the library. The knee slappin’ and toe tappin’ music will be offered throughout the day.

Friday will feature more fiddlin’ around town, plus some jam sessions at the Blaine County Senior Center prior to the Gamblers’ Contest.

The Gamblers’ Contest will be held at 7 p.m. at the Wood River High School. Contestants have to literally pull a song out of a hat. They then must play the song, whether they know it or not. A panel of judges will score the contestants based on three criteria: whether the contestants play the tune drawn, the "danceability" of the music played and showmanship and technique.

The state competition begins Saturday, 8 a.m., at the high school. Fiddlers will compete in eight divisions. Last year, more than 60 fiddlers ranged in age from 7 to 80. First place winners in each division will go on to compete in the Grand Championship Round slotted for 7 p.m. The finalists and Grand Champion automatically qualify for the National Fiddlers Contest held this June in Weiser, Idaho.

The Idaho Old Time Fiddlers Association is dedicated to "reviving and preserving the old fiddle music, perpetuating the old tunes and fiddling techniques and to passing on this traditional form of entertainment to the young." The term "old time" refers to that body of fiddle music composed, performed and handed down through the oral tradition and played in such manner as to sustain the original melody. It is not to be confused with more recent styles of playing, such as Texas, Western Swing or Blue Grass. This year’s contest, however, will have an Open Division where such styles are encouraged.

All events are free as the Hailey Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the contest. For more information, call the Chamber at 788-2700.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.