Pickens County’s Seventeenth Annual Ole Time Fiddler’s Convention with the Second Annual South Carolina State Fiddling Championship

Musicians mark your calendars
Pickens County’s Seventeenth Annual Ole Time Fiddlin' Convention
and Second Annual South Carolina State Fiddling Championship


To be held September 21 at Hagood Mill Historic Site & Folklife Center



     The Pickens County Cultural Commission announces that the Second Annual South Carolina State Fiddling Championship will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at Pickens County’s Seventeenth Annual Ole Time Fiddlin' Convention at Hagood Mill.


     For hundreds of years the South has enjoyed a rich traditional musical heritage and the upcountry counties of South Carolina have been no less than a hot bed of these traditions. The Scots Irish and other immigrants that established homesteads brought with them their fiddles and a heritage of music. These are the folks that populated the southern-most tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


     One of the last of the official old time fiddling competitions in the upstate was held in 1924 at Tillman Hall on the campus of Clemson College (University) as mountain men and women gathered to compete with their treasured fiddles and other instruments. For the last sixteen years, Pickens County has celebrated this music with their annual Ole Time Fiddlin’ Convention, a throwback to a very upcountry tradition of the last hundred years. Yes, three miles north of Pickens, SC, one crosses the tributaries of the Twelve Mile River and at the Hagood Mill Historic Site & Folklife Center enters the homeland of the South Carolina Dark Corner mountain people, their rollicking fiddle music, and a rich history of traditional culture and arts.


   Come join the friends of the Hagood Mill Historic Site & Folklife Center and the Pickens County Museum on Saturday, September 21, as "MUSIC in the MOUNTAINS 2013" kicks off its fall season with Pickens County’s Seventeenth Annual Ole Time Fiddlin' Convention on the outdoor stage at Hagood Mill. Musicians and guests are invited to arrive as early as Friday afternoon and set up overnight camping spots at out primitive camping area. The Saturday Competition will begin at 10:30 am. Awards and cash prizes will be given to the top three performers in each of the following categories: String Band, Banjo, Guitar, “WildcatOpen (anything musical), Junior Fiddle, Junior Open (both Jr. divisions = 16 and under) and Fiddle. The Winner of the Fiddle Competition will be designated the 2013 South Carolina State Fiddling Champion. Competition entry is free. For Stringband and Fiddle we do request pre-registration, but contestants in all other categories should register for competitions by one hour before contest time. Early registration and a complete set of competition rules are available by calling the Pickens County Museum at (864) 898-5963 or by email at [email protected].


     Entry for this full day of music, tradition and a mighty good time is only $5.00 parking fee per car. Join us as the festive season kicks off! The Pickens County Cultural Commission, as always, invites you to a special day of milling, music and memories. Plan on coming out for the whole show! Bring a lawn chair and enjoy a day of rip-roaring, foot-stomping music by some of the region's best old time musicians! One and all are also invited to bring their instruments and add to the entertainment with the open jams on site throughout the day.


     The water-powered 1845 gristmill, one of the finest examples of nineteenth century technology in the Upstate, operates just as it has for the last century-and-a-half and will be running throughout the day. In the old mill, fresh stone-ground corn meal, grits and wheat flour will be available, as well as Hagood Mill cookbooks and a variety of other mill related items. 


     The Hagood Mill hosts a variety of folklife and traditional arts demonstrations each month, including blacksmithing, bowl-diggingflintknapping, chair-caning, moonshining, broom-making, quilting, spinning, knitting, weaving, woodcarving, open-hearth cooking, metal-smithing, pioneer toys and games and more! 


     So, head on out, enjoy some good old southern cooking prepared by our food vendors from GateHouse Restaurant, and show our support for the Mill and the Pickens County Museum by joining them at this very special Third Saturday event. The Hagood Mill operates, rain or shine, the third Saturday of every month and is located just 3 miles north of Pickens or 5 ½ miles south of Cherokee Foothills Scenic Hwy 11 off SC Hwy 178 at 138 Hagood Mill Road. Hagood Mill is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 until 4:00, to tour the buildings and grounds and to visit the Mill Site Gift Shop.


   The Seventeenth Annual Ole Time Fiddlin’ Convention and SC State Fiddling Championship is sponsored, to date, by a private benefactor. SPONSORSHIPS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. This is a great way to promote YOUR business. The Pickens County Museum of Art & History is funded in part by Pickens County, members and friends of the museum and a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. We would also like to thank GateHouse Restaurant for their generous gift of feeding our mill site volunteers.

   For additional information or to be placed on a distribution list for competition rules, please contact the Pickens County Museum at (864) 898-5963 or the Hagood Mill at (864) 898-2936 or by email at [email protected] .



Pickens County’s Ole Time Fiddlin’ Convention

& South Carolina State Fiddling Championship

Saturday, Sept 21, 2012 at Hagood Mill Historic Site & Folklife Center

Rules for Competition


(1) Registration for String Band Competition and Fiddling Championship is in advance by email to [email protected] or by phone to the Pickens County Museum (864-898-5963) with a deadline of noon Friday, September 14. Please give name of band and contact info for one member.


(2) All other category registration must be completed 1 hour before competition begins at the mill site on festival day.


(3) The individual instrument categories are as follows:


(A) Fiddle,               (B) Old Time Banjo,               (C) Guitar               (D) “Wildcat” Open Category.


(E) We also will have Junior Fiddle and (F) Junior Open (under age 16) categories (Juniors that wish to compete in an adult category cannot also compete in that same category in the Jr. competition.)


(4) The judges’ decision is final.


(5) The judges will not enter or play in any competition category.


(6) No electric instruments will be permitted.


(7) 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).


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


(9) Each contestant may have one accompanist, but this is not required.


(10) Contestants may enter as many categories as they wish. However, contestants may enter the “open” category only once.


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


(12) 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.


(13) 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. However, Bluegrass fiddlers may enter the fiddle competition. “Show off” tunes, such as Orange Blossom Special, Whoa Mule, etc. should be avoided. Original material consistent with the tradition is acceptable.


(14) An “old time string band” must consist of a fiddle, banjo, and at least one other stringed instrument (guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, etc.) with a maximum of six instruments. Musicians can only enter in one band.


(15) 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.


(16) 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”


For additional information please contact the Pickens County Museum at (864) 898-5963. For Ole Time Fiddlin’ Competition rules and guidelines please request by email at [email protected]

187 Hagood Mill Rd
Pickens, SC 29671
(864) 898-5963
$5.00 parking fee/car for a fun filled day.
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