South Carolina State Fiddling Championship at Hagood Mill



12:00 noon -Guitar


12:30pm     -Old Time Banjo


1:00pm       -Junior Fiddle


1:30pm       -Wildcat Open


2:15pm       -Senior Fiddle


3:45pm       -Old Time String Band

SC State Fiddling Championship Rules

1.  Individual instrument category registration must be completed before 12:00 noon at the millsite on festival day.  There will be a $10.00 registration fee for the Senior Fiddle Category only.

2.  The competition categories are as follows: (A) Guitar, (B) Old Time Banjo, (C) Sr.Fiddle, (D) Jr Fiddle(16 and under), (E) Wild Cat Open (Adults and Jrs  compete together), and (F) Old Time String Band.

3.  The judges’ decision is final.

4.  The judges will not enter or play in any competition category.

5.  No electric instruments will be permitted.

6.  Each contestant will play one tune except fiddlers, who will be asked to play two tunes, one slow and one fast. Instrument competition will be all instrumentals. All string bands will be asked to play a mini-set consisting of five tunes to include at least one vocal number and one slow tune with several breakdown dance tunes (note: depending on the number of entries, we may choose at our discretion to shorten this mini-set for each band).

7.  Each individual contestant (not bands) is encouraged to observe a time limit of three (3) minutes per tune.

8.  Each contestant may have one accompanist, but this is not required.

9.  Contestants may enter as many categories as they wish.

10.   No category will be judged unless there is a minimum of three entries competing in that category.

11.   Contestants must be present and play when scheduled. Allowances will be made for broken strings and other things beyond the control of the contestant. Once a category is closed, late arrivals or no-shows will be eliminated.

12.   Emphasis will be on old time or traditional music. Tunes and playing styles should be traditional old time, not modern, progressive bluegrass, or other styles. “Show off” tunes, such as Orange Blossom Special, Whoa Mule, etc. should be avoided. Original material consistent with the tradition is acceptable. (See links below for a better understanding of what “Old Time” music and blues is all about)

13.   An “old time string band” must consist of at least a fiddle, banjo, and guitar with a maximum of six instruments. Musicians can only enter in one band.

14.   In the event of a tie, there will be a play-off. A contestant may not repeat the same tune in the play-off that he or she played earlier in the competition category.

15.   Contestants will be judged on tuning, rhythm & timing (even & consistent- any jerking, rushing, dragging, or unevenness in tempo will result in loss of points), and execution (tonal quality and clarity of performance and general command of the instrument). Creativity and expression will also be judged as well as authenticity of style. Variations and improvisations will be allowed under creativity, but these should not be excessive, so as to destroy or change the basic melody line of the tune. Expression will be judged by the “feeling” expressed in the contestant’s performance. Flat, mechanical and unfeeling performances, as well as excessive “showmanship”, will result in loss of points.

"Good Luck"






As autumn approaches and the leaves turn their brilliant colors, it signals the time for fiddle music in the mountains.  On September 19th vintage fiddle music will fill the hills and hollers around Hagood Mill as it becomes the host for the annual South Carolina Old Time Fiddling Championship. Some of the best fiddlers in the southeast will gather to compete for the title of South Carolina champion. This traditional contest goes back to the 1920s when Clemson University opened the doors of rustic Tillman Hall to the local musicians of the nearby South Carolina Mountains for their music competition.

There will be cash prizes for competition in senior and junior fiddle categories as well as olde time string band,  olde time banjo, guitar, and “wild cat” open categories.

Bring a lawn chair and set yourself to enjoy lively music and good food on the grounds of the historic old grist mill that is the central destination for traditional music in the South Carolina upcountry.

Contestants can register online (see link below) or by calling 864.898.2936.  Contestants may also register at the Hagood Mill on the day of the event before 12:00 noon.  There will be a $10.00 registration fee for those competing in the Senior Fiddle competition only.   For more information about the rules and regulations for this event please go to www.visitpickenscounty.com/calendar.

Admission is free, however there will be a $5.00 parking fee for this rain or shine event.  (All proceeds from parking help fund future events at Hagood Mill.)

The gristmill will be operating and mountain crafts demonstrations will be from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.

 As always, we encourage visitors to bring their favorite old-time instruments and join in the “open jam” which takes place throughout the day under the ancient cedar beside our beloved 1791 log cabin.

The Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site of SC, formerly known as the Rock Art Center, will open to the public on the third Saturday, during the Fiddling Championship at Hagood Mill. This will be a soft opening with plans being made for an official dedication to recognize donors, have speakers, and unveil plaques to be held at a later date.

The Petroglyph Site will be open (free admission) regularly to the public three days each week, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10am – 4 pm.

We can’t wait to see you here!

There will be lots to see on September 19th as Hagood Mill hosts a variety of folk life and traditional arts demonstrations.  There will be blacksmithing, bowl-digging, flint knapping, chair-caning, moonshining, broom-making, basket-making, pottery, quilting, spinning, knitting, weaving, woodcarving, metal-smithing, leather-working, bee keeping and more! You can ask questions of the artists and make a purchase of their Traditional Arts to take home.

The Centerpiece of the Hagood Mill historic site is the water-powered 1845 gristmill. It is one of the finest examples of nineteenth century technology in the Upcountry and operates just as it has for the last century-and-a-half…the mill will be running throughout the day. In the old mill, fresh stone-ground corn meal, grits and wheatflour will be available.  In addition rye flour, Basmati rice flour, oat flour, oatmeal, popping corn meal, and grits, organic yellow corn meal and grits, and buckwheat flour are produced and may be available.  Hagood Mill cookbooks and a variety of other mill related items are also available.

There promises to be lots to do and lots of fun! So, head on out, grab a plate of great food on site from the Gatehouse Restaurant and enjoy a special day at the Hagood Mill.

The Hagood Mill historic site is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm all year long. The Mill operates, rain or shine, for a special festival the third Saturday of every month. 

The Hagood Mill islocated just 3 miles north of Pickens off Highway 178 or 5 ½ miles south of Cherokee Foothills Scenic Hwy 11off Highway 178 at 138 Hagood Mill Road.

Pickens County is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

“Music in the Mountains 2015” is sponsored by a private benefactor and the kind donations of visitors like you.For additional information, please contact the Hagood Mill at (864) 898-2936 or check out our website at www.visitpickenscounty.com/calendar










138 Hagood Mill Rd.
Pickens, SC 29671
(864) 898-2936
$5.00 Parking Registration fee for competition . Free Admission - Public Welcome.