Hoppin' John Convention Set for Shakori Hills
The Shakori Hills Community Arts Center presents the Hoppin' John Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers' Convention, now in its sixth year, Thursday, Sept. 13, through Saturday, Sept. 15.
Hoppin' John is a three-day event for musicians, dancers and music lovers to come together and celebrate the traditions of old-time and bluegrass music. There will be dance, instrument and band contests for all ages.
Hoppin' John also features square dances, workshops, musician showcases, a hoppin' john cook-off, and a special opportunity to see, hear and learn the secrets and treasures of this Piedmont take on the fiddlers' convention concept.
The convention helps keep the musical roots of the state alive and provides an opportunity for young people to play on stage, and be exposed to some of the musicians who have helped inspire them in their love of traditional music.
The event will kick off on Thursday night this year with a Rowdy Square Dance led by the Five Points Rounders, featuring David Bass on fiddle, Colin Booy on banjo, Rob VanVeld on gutbucket bass, and Steve Kruger on guitar. The Rounders, a young, high-energy old-time band, came together in Durham to bring their type of music to the next generation by creating the Rowdy Square Dance concept - dusting off the old square dance tunes and moves, and repackaging them to suit a younger, more hip crowd, without losing any shine for forever fans and connoisseurs.
Anna Lena Phillips calls out the next dance step while dancing on stage, and keeps all of the dancers together and comfortable, whether it's their first or their 100th square dance.
The convention's individual contests will begin on Friday afternoon and run throughout Saturday. There will be a square dance featuring the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers as well as a late night dance on Saturday night with the Red Hots.
The Roan Mountain Hilltoppers are a Southern Appalachian traditional mountain music family string band. The Red Hots play an addictive version of Southern old-time string-band music from the 1920s and 30s, as well as their own original tunes.
Hoppin' John welcomes Alice Gerrard back for a showcase and folk singing workshop. Gerrard is a musician as well as an expert in old-time and mountain music. She has appeared on more than 20 recordings, including projects with many traditional musicians such as Tommy Jarrell and Enoch Rutherford. She also co-produced and appeared in two documentary films and has won numerous honors, including an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award and the North Carolina Folklore Society's Tommy Jarrell Award. In 1987 she founded the Old-Time Herald and served as editor-in-chief until 2003.
The Green Grass Cloggers, the premier clogging group of North Carolina, will be around for performances and workshops.
New to the convention this year will be a fiddle workshop with Asheville's old-time expert Michael Ismerio, and children's storytelling on Saturday morning with early childhood educator, Tim Wells.
The Hoppin' John Cakewalk will be back, by popular demand. As always, there will be a hoppin' john cook-off. Contests include: band (old-time, bluegrass, and non-traditional), old-time and bluegrass instrument (fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and bass), folk song, and dance. There will also be a contest for youth musicianship. Cash prizes will be rewarded for a total of $3,800.
Contestant tickets are $22. Thursday admission is $6, Friday is $8 and Saturday admission is $12.
Camping is $10 per vehicle per night (free on Thursday), and $15 per night for RVs
Day parking is free.
There will be craft and musical instrument vendors as well as food vendors, including the Shakori Hills Pizza Shack and the Groovy Grill.
Shakori Hills is located at 1439 Henderson Tanyard Road, Pittsboro.
More information and a schedule will be available at www.hoppinjohn.org.
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