The Natural State is host to countless bluegrass festivals, fiddle contests and music heritage events throughout the year. Here is a list of Fiddlin' Arkansas' Top 9 for 2009. What makes your list?
9.) Johnson County Peach Festival Fiddle Contest - Held each year during the Peach Festival in Clarksville, AR, this fiddle contest draws some of the finest contest fiddlers around. Herman Johnson a 5 time Grand National Fiddle Champion was instrumental in drawing great fiddlers from Oklahoma and Missouri to an Arkansas audience.
8.) Archey Fork Fiddle Contest - The 1st annual fiddle contest held in Clinton, AR was held in honor of M.D. Breeding. Boone Carlon, Junior Marriott and Jana Jae judged this important new event in conjunction with Clinton's Archey Fest.
7.) Ozark Heritage Annual Fiddler's Contest - Leslie, AR hosts an annual fiddle contest at the esteemed Ozark Heritage Arts Center. The center is passionate about the promotion of old time music in Arkansas particularly involving its' state instrument. A fiddle owned by local Abbie Morrison graces the halls of the center. Recorded in Memphis in the 1930s, Abbie and his brother Absie were quite influential fiddlers in their day.
6.) Arkansas State Fiddle Championship - Held the last weekend of September each year, Arkansas' official State Fiddle Contest has been around since the 70s. Only last year did they first invite non-residents of the state to compete. While this brings a higher level of competition to the table, it doesn't guarantee an Arkansan will be Arkansas' Champion. Ed Carnes, Tim Crouch and Junior Marriott judged this years contest. Jake Duncan of Oklahoma came out on top. What will 2010 bring?
5.) Arkansas Fiddle and Strings Camp - Hosted by Arkansas State Fiddle Champion, Tim Trawick, this camp is a blast for players of all ages wishing to learn a new tune, meet some fellow pickers and enhance their skills. Featuring nightly jams and a final performance, this camp is sure to be a hit. View a video here.
4.) Harrison Fiddle Convention - One of the best jams in Arkansas. Fiddlers come from Missouri, Oklahoma and even Michigan to jam and reconnect with their friends. You don't wanna miss North Ark Community College in Harrison in March!
3.) Folk Festival - Jimmy Driftwood helped get this going back in the 1960s. America's national treasure and friend of Jimmy's, Doc Watson frequented this festival in the early years. Today, pickers fill the square at Mountain View and jam til the wee hours. Stay on the square at The Inn at Mountain View and don't forget to visit Mountain View Music.
2.) Wildwood's Arkansas Pickin' and Fiddlin' Championships - Wildwood Park in Little Rock, AR has begun an event that is sure to define Arkansas' roots americana scene for years to come. Commencing in 2008 with just a fiddle contest, 2009 brought higher standards with the Arkansas State Flatpick, Mandolin, Banjo, Dobro and Band Championships. See you this October in Little Rock!
1.) Wooten Brothers Bluegrass Festival - Once the largest bluegrass festival in the state and former host of the Arkansas State Flatpick Championships, the Wooten Brothers continue to draw the finest musicians around to their ampitheater the first weekend in August. Bring your lawn chair and mandolin and we'll pick in 2010!