Across Virginia

Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax

Old Fiddlers Convention

Every August, some of the world’s finest fiddlers and musicians head to Galax, Virginia, to show off their skills and participate in the annual Old Fiddler’s Convention.

This five-day event is the oldest and largest fiddler’s convention in the world, providing more than 75 years of competition and celebration of music. In 2021 it takes place Aug. 9 to 14.


Galax, Virginia, also known as the Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, is located in southwestern Virginia.

It is located near to hiking, boating, and fishing at New River Trail State Park.

Galax is also home to fine dining, botique shops, and a historical downtown.

The Old Fiddler’s Convention is held in Felts Park.


On-site camping is available for both fiddlers and fans planning to stay overnight.

Many of the musicians and dancers warm up at the campgrounds, and ameteur fiddlers who don’t plan to compete often bring their instruments to see how they keep up with other musicians.

Campsites are filled on a first come, first serve basis. Campsites cannot be reserved in advance.

Campsites are $80 per space. Felts Park opens for camping at 7 a.m. Sunday.

Both trailer and tent camping are available. Individual campsites do not have electric or water hookups, but a restroom is located nearby.

The Competition

The daily competitions begin at 6 p.m. each night and at noon on Saturday.

Registered musicians compete for cash prizes of thousands of dollars. Much of the competition requires the skill of improvisation, as well as memorization of hundreds of pieces.

Instruments range from the harmonica to the bull fiddle.

To play in the competition, musicians must register in advance. Registration for participating musicians is free.

Each night, competitors perform in a covered grandstand.

The convention begins with the youth competition on Monday for performers 15 and under.

Other competitions throughout the week include the Bluegrass Fiddle, Dulcimer, and Banjo Competitions, The Old Time Band, The Folk Song Competition, and the Guitar Competition.

Winners are announced on Sunday.


Admission to the competition is $6 Monday through Thursday, $10 on Friday, and $12 on Saturday.

Weeklong tickets are $40.


The first Old Fiddler’s Convention was held in 1935 in the Moose Lodge to raise funds and improve publicity.

The Convention was advertised as being dedicated to “Keeping alive the memories and sentiments of days gone by and make it possible for the people of today to hear and enjoy the tunes of yesterday”, as written in a local newspaper.

Today, bands and musicians come from cities all over the world to participate in this well loved tradition.

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