By SHANNON WATKINS
The first-ever Rural Retreat-Wythe County Fiddlers Convention will be held this Memorial Day Weekend at the Rural Retreat-Wythe County Fairgrounds.
For something so new, it’s certainly generating a lot of excitement.
“I’ve received emails from England,” said Jim Lloyd, convention coordinator. “I’ve received emails from New Jersey and Florida. Hopefully the turnout will be really, really good.”
Lloyd explained that the event was conceived as a fundraiser for the Rural Retreat-Wythe County Fair Association.
Vicki Sprouse, president of the association, said, “It’s about to blow my mind because I didn’t expect this kind of reaction. I just hope the weather will cooperate.”
The festival will offer $4,105 in cash prizes for first, second and third place winners; fourth and fifth place winners will receive a ribbon only. In individual categories, first place winners will receive $100, second place winners will receive $75 and third place winners will receive $50. For bands, first place winners will receive $500, second place winners will receive $300 and third place winners will receive $100.
Categories are bluegrass fiddle, old time fiddle, bluegrass banjo, old time banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass, folk song, dance, old time band and bluegrass band.
The same categories will be used in the youth competition except for bands; first place winners in the youth competition will win $20, second place will win $10 and third place will win $5. Youth is open to musicians 16 and under.
Youth competition begins Saturday, May 25 at 11 a.m. and adult competition will begin as soon as youth is finished. Band competitions will be held on Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 25 at 6 p.m.
The Rural Retreat Fiddler’s Convention will be held at the Rural Retreat-Wythe County Fairgrounds, 778 Rural Retreat Lake Road in Rural Retreat on Friday May 24 through Saturday, May 25 (take exit 60 off of I-81). Gate fee is $8; camping in the rough (no electricity) is $10 per night, non-refundable. Gate fund fees are refunded to musicians if they perform. The fairgrounds are open for camping from Wednesday, May 22 at 6 p.m. Showers are available.
For more information contact Jim Lloyd at (276) 686-5976 or Vicki Sprouse at (276) 356-3235.