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37th Annual Banjo and Fiddle Contest

Lowell Summer Music Series
37th Annual Banjo and Fiddle Contest
Lowell, MA
Saturday, September 9, 2017
10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Free Admission. Donations Welcome

Bust out your banjos, flex your fiddles, and come hang out at Boarding House Park for a day of traditional music and family fun. The Banjo & Fiddle Contest celebrates its 37th event on September 9, 2017, from 10:00AM to 6:00PM.

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The event is free for contestants, as well as all traditional music fans who'd like to come and listen. Never been to a banjo and fiddle contest before? Bring your lawn chairs and settle in to watch the friendly competition and get in touch with our country's musical roots.

Jon Gersh of WUMB Folk Radio will be the Emcee for the contest and other exciting events of the day.

Click here for Contestant Registration Form Packet.

The fun starts at 10am! We'll have music workshops and jam sessions from 10AM-noon and then a whole afternoon full of a music contest and community. Parents arriving early should consider taking a free trolley ride at 10AM from the visitor center, visiting the family corner at the visitor center, and the Boott Cotton Mills Museum where kids can pick up a Jr. Ranger activity book. Then from 2-4PM at the contest site, there will be a kids craft activity organized by the park rangers.

10AM-11AM - Free Workshops
11AM-12PM - Organized Jam Sessions
11AM-1PM - Registration
12PM-5:30* - Banjo & Fiddle Contest
2PM-4PM - Kids' Activities
2:30 PM-2:50 PM - Intermission Performance by Marylou Ferrante
5:30*PM-6PM - Judges Tally Final Scores & Prizes Awarded

*Contest will end and judge tally begin when the final contestant has performed.

Workshops (10-11 AM): We have four great music workshops planned:

  • Old Time Fiddle - Alan Kaufman
  • Clawhammer Banjo - Tim Rowell
  • Bluegrass Fiddle - David Kassel
  • Irish Fiddle - Ellery Klein

Organized Jams (11AM-12PM): We will have an organized Old Time Jam(led by Mike Roguska), a Bluegrass Jam (led by David Kassel) and a Traditional Irish Session (led by Ellery Klein).

The intermission entertainment will be provided by local roots musician Marylou Ferrante, who will present a program featuring the styles and stories of several southern female banjo players from the mid-1900's.

Throughout the day, while the contest progresses, informal jam sessions often happen in areas adjacent to the park.

Cash prizes and ribbons will be awarded in 9 contest categories:
Old Time Fiddle
Old Time Banjo
Bluegrass Fiddle
Bluegrass Banjo
Ethnic Fiddle
Banjo (Other Styles)
Twin Fiddle
Banjo & Fiddle Duet
Youth (14 and under)

Judging criteria include musicality (40%), technical competence (40%), tune difficulty (10%), start and stop strength (10%).

At Lowell National Historical Park, we honor the connections between past and present. At the Banjo & Fiddle Contest, we invite you to come celebrate musical heritage. The repertoire of tunes played during the Contest is what Folklorists refer to as traditional music-music practiced by groups of people who share a common ethnic heritage, geographic region, or way of life. Tunes are shared within families and communities and are passed on over generations.

Rain Location: Lowell High School Auditorium, 50 Fr. Morrissette Blvd., across the street from Boarding House Park.

For more info, contact:

Premium Seats
Limited Availability
Premium Seats are available in the first three rows at all evening concerts. These are low sand chairs that are provided for you right in front of the stage. View them on our Seating page.

VIP Parking at All Concerts
Very Limited Number of Spaces
Parking spaces are available in the private lot adjacent to the main entrance to Boarding House Park for $27. You get convenience and easy in/out. A portion of your parking fee supports the Lowell Summer Music Series.

Join Our E-Mail List
Get Concert Info First!
Get the latest news on concerts as they are announced on our e-mail list. If you provide your address, we will send you the Series Brochure with the full lineup when it is published each May.

Visit Our Box Offices
At Lowell National Historical Park
Tickets are also available at our "Official Box Offices" at Lowell National Historical Park, open seven days a week. The locations are:

Visitor Center, 246 Market St., Lowell (9AM-4PM) Validated parking available in Visitor Center Parking Lot at Dutton and Broadway Streets.

Boott Cotton Mills Museum, 115 John St., adjacent to Boarding House Park (9:30AM-5PM) Pay parking available in the Downes (John St.) Garage.

Tickets will also be available at the Merchandise Tent at each of our concerts. There is never a ticket fee charge online or in person. technology and this web site developed and operated by:
Meerkat Technology
97 Central Street
Lowell, MA 01719
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