NEW ALBANY – Fiddle, guitar, mandolin, Dobro and banjo players will show off their stuff during the 2009 Down from the Hills Heritage Music Festival in New Albany.
In addition to jam sessions, concerts and workshops, the event will feature the Mississippi State Fiddling Championship, as well as championships for other instruments. Players will compete for a piece of $5,000.
“We hope to have a full house of competitors of all ages on Saturday,” said Jill Smith, director of the Union County Heritage Museum, co-coordinator of the event, “and great entertainment for those who come to enjoy this grassroots music.”
The festival will open at 6 p.m. Friday at the Union County Fairgrounds with a jam session, and everyone’s invited to bring their instruments. That’ll be followed by performances by The Russell Brothers and the Rocky Ford String Band. The Larry Wallace Band will perform at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the festival will open with a pancake breakfast and plant sale at 7 a.m. at the American Legion located across the street from the fairgrounds. The music competition will begin at 10 a.m.
A Beginning Fiddle Workshop will be taught at 11 a.m. by the Fiddlers Three, otherwise known as Hannah, 11, Richard, 12, and Sarah
Gunnell, 13, of Ripley. Along with the workshop, the members of Fiddlers Three will compete in the 15 and under portion of the fiddling competition.
The festival also will showcase the talents of 14-year-old Tyler White of Booneville. In March, the young fiddler performed with country legend Ray Price in Nashville.
All of the musical contests will include a junior and senior division. Trophies and cash will be awarded to the winners. The festival will go on, rain or shine. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets.
“We hope to make this event a tradition in north Mississippi,” said Bethany Dalton with the Union County Development Association Tourism Office. “If there is good participation, we hope to do it again.”
NEMS Daily Journal