4th Annual Old Time Fiddlers Convention Morehead Ky July 2009

Fiddlers in the Shade

Fiddlers in the Shade

Well, I had a great time at the Morehead Old Time Fiddlers Convention this past weekend! This was the fourth year for the gathering but it was the first time for me. I have lived away from Morehead for a few years and so I missed a lot of cool stuff like this.

The event went on for two days but unfortunately I was only able to hang around for a few hours on Friday. I knew the Clack Mountain String Band was going to be playing that night and was really looking forward to hearing them. I have been to several Bluegrass Festivals recently but hadn’t gotten the chance to hear the Clack Mountain String Band play live.

This gathering is quite different from the usual Bluegrass Festival in that most of those in attendance are musicians. People were camping out and playing music all over the place. I got to see a lot of really cool people like Karly Dawn Higgins (Clack Mountain String Band), Jesse Wells (Clack Mountain String Band, Kentucky Wildhorse and more) and John Harrod (Kentucky Wildhorse). Jesse Wells is an awesome musician, he can burn up a mandolin or a fiddle and I have very little doubt that he would have won the fiddler competition if he had entered.

Don Rogers & Paul David Smith

Don Rogers & Paul David Smith

The Morehead Old Time Fiddlers Convention includes competitions for fiddle, banjo, dulcimer, dancing and string bands.

The first contest was the Art Stamper Day Old Time Fiddler Contest. Fiddle players from Wisconsin to Virginia took their turn on stage and all of them were very good. Paul David Smith, who recently played with Kentucky Wildhorse at the Clack Mountain Festival, won first prize in the fiddler contest.

Two bands performed onstage Friday night; The Clack Mountain String Band and Red State Ramblers. I had to leave before the Red State Ramblers came on so I didn’t get to hear them, but I would have to say that the highlight of my visit was The Clack Mountain String Band. I have heard about them for awhile but this was the first time I actually got to hear them play. They were EXCELLENT! Much better, in my opinion, than a lot of the “mainstream” stuff you hear.

From what I hear I missed a lot of great stuff on Saturday. Next year I am going to try to hang around the entire weekend.

Clack Mountain String Band

The Clack Mountain String Band

Karly Dawn Higgins ~ Guitar and vocals
Jesse Wells ~ Fiddle
Brett Ratliff ~ Banjo and vocals
Paul Priest ~ Bass

Artists and Craftsmen

There were also some very talented Kentucky artists at the convention. Louis Magda of The Artists’ Corner in Morehead had his hand carved totem poles on display:

Totem Poles Hand Carved by Kentucky Artist Louis Magda

Totem Poles by Louis Magda

John Haywood, an artist and banjo player from Little Doubles Creek, Kentucky, was also there with his display. Haywood is a very talented, I apologize for not having pictures here but you can find his page in the list below if you wanna check it out.



  • DSlone 14 years ago

    Hey Lou, thanks for your comment man. Next year I am going to plan on staying for the entire weekend.

    Alrighty, Paul Priest on the upright bass. I had actually contacted some folks to ask who this was so I could add his name as well.

  • Thank you for attending the fiddlers convention and for your comments. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by so many good musicians, artists and just fine folks in general and that community, east Kentucky and wherever else people have traveled from to join us, is what makes this a successful event. We’re already looking forward to next year and hope to see you there! Thanks again.


  • Artists' Corner 14 years ago

    The Morehead Old Time Fiddlers Convention was a good time for all. Performances and music and dance contests, and even a square dance were among the entertainments. Thanks, David, for the terrific photo of my totem poles! My favorite part is the after hours jammin’ in the campground. I love that. I had such a good time playing with people till the wee hours. To all who attended, Thanks! It was a blast! If you’ve never been, come and check it out. A great time for all!

    Oh, by the way that’s Paul Priest on bass with the Clack Mountain String Band. J. T. Cure, the former bass man for the C. M. S. B. was there, playing with others. And I can’t forget the headliners of the friday night concert, The Red State Ramblers, who tore it up! EEEEEEEHAW!!!!!

  • Lost&Found 14 years ago

    Unfortunately I did not get to go to either one of these
    Old Mill Bluegrass Festival in West Liberty Ky or Old Time Fiddlers Convention Morehead Ky due to certain things but I did hear that they very good and I wish I would have gotten to go them but they will be there next year hopefully and me and my family will go to them all.
    Keep us posted on dates of up coming events and great site

  • Karly Dawn Higgins 14 years ago

    howdy all. what a nice write-up. so great of you to write about our awesome festival -the morehead old time fiddlers convention. thanks. we’ll see you soon!

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