GA String Band Festival

The 12th Annual Georgia String Band Festival April 27 & 28, 2018 The Georgia String Band Festival and Gordon County Fiddlers’ Convention is an annual celebration of Gordon County’s heritage music, honoring the legacy of the Georgia Yellow Hammers and the Baxter Brothers, pioneers of pre-WWII Old Time music. A two day event, the Festival consists of a Friday night kick-off concert followed by Saturday’s day-long competitions in string band, fiddle, banjo, buck dance and singing. Any performer, aged 15 or older, may enter. Monetary prizes totaling $1,900 are awarded. Competition judges are Old Time musicians themselves, and have judged at similar festivals throughout the Southeast. Performances, historical presentations and free educational components round out this celebration of local cultural history. Entry fee for the competitions is only $10 per person, with children aged 12 and under free. The Georgia String Band Festival is held in partnership with the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development’s annual BBQ, Boogie & Blues Festival. Grammy Award winning musician and co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Dom Flemons, was the featured artist at the Friday night kick-off concert last year.  52 performers competed in 2017. The festival attracts quality talent from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina. String Band Winners 2017 Singing: Camden Pugh Chris Casbarro Alicia Kafka Buck Dance: Andrea Smith Joni Hornsby Betty Jo Bailey Banjo: John Grimm Chris Casbarro Camden Pugh String Band: Griddle Lickers (Mick Kinney) Grimm Cadets (Jason Cade) Evan Kinney & His Dixieland Squirrel Skinners Fiddle: Jason Cade Mick Kinney Michael...

A Word About Old-Time String Band Music

What is this “string band music” we celebrate at the Georgia String Band Festival and Gordon County Fiddlers’ Convention? It has gone by many names—string band, old-timey, mountain music—but, in general, old-time or string band music was played and recorded before World War II and, especially, the Great Depression era of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Generally, string band music is performed by smaller groups, perhaps one, two, or three performers, lacks the extended, improvised instrumental solos of bluegrass, consists of relatively traditional song structures, and is often not strictly symmetrical in its rhythms. It was the music of the hearth, the home, and farmstead. Old-time music has extreme local variations, and, commercially, its main means of distribution other than live performance was sales of 78 rpm records through furniture stores, general goods stores, or music stores like Calhoun’s L. Moss Music Company. On a Calhoun Saturday at a fiddlers’ convention, one might find 5,000 folks crowding downtown in their wagons and buggies, craning their necks to listen to old-time fiddlers like Fiddlin’ John Carson, A.A. Gray, or Resaca’s Bill Chitwood. Widely popular in the old-time tradition were Uncle Dave Macon and the Carter Family, while locally we had our own Georgia Yellow Hammers and Andrew and Jim Baxter. Bluegrass, on the other hand, is a child of old-time string band music and the major social, cultural, and technological upheavals in this country. After WWII, a great migration occurred to cities and industrial centers. Radio—and later television—brought new and exciting musical and other ideas to people’s ears. Bluegrass tends to feature larger ensembles with various combinations of vocalists....