Mick Kinney, left, and his son, Evan Kinney, play music while Laurie Jo Ramond competes in the dance contest in a previous Great Southern Old Time Fiddlers' Convention. The 2020 competition is March 14 at 901 Lindsay. / Staff File Photo

This story was updated at 5:39 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, 2020, with more information.

UPDATE: The event has been postponed until Oct. 11.


ORIGINAL STORY: The Great Southern Old Time Fiddlers Convention has had competitions for fiddle, banjo, string band and traditional song for the last 10 years. This year, organizer Matt Downer has added a slot for guitar players.

The event, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 14, at 901 Lindsay (formerly Lindsay Street Hall), is a celebration of old-time music of the type most often associated with fiddle and banjo, and played by gathering family and friends on a front porch or at a community social.

It's played without benefit of electricity or amplification, Downer said, adding that it was popular for folks a century ago as both a way to entertain and pass along stories and folklore.

If you go

› What: Great Southern Old Time Fiddlers Convention

› When: Noon-9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14

› Where: 901 Lindsay St.

› Admission: $10

› Online:

"The banjo and fiddle are older, though around 1900 mail order guitars came into it, and there are some good pre-1930s-style songs. The Sam Magee stuff is some of my favorite recordings of that in the '20s."

Part of the reason he added the category this year is because of the number of good pickers who come to the convention each year.

"I know that there are some real good guitar players that come, but in support roles, so this gives them the opportunity to strut their stuff."

As in years past, the convention is an opportunity for musicians and fans to hear and talk about old-time music. One of the groups Downer is excited to hear is Uncle Shuffelo & The Haint Hollow Hootenanny.

Schedule of events

Noon. Doors Open

12:30 p.m. Performance (TBA)

1:30 p.m. Dance Contest

2 p.m. Guitar Contest

3 p.m. Banjo Contest

4 p.m. Dinner break

4:30 p.m. Traditional Song Contest

6 p.m. String Band Contest

7 p.m. Fiddle Contest

Led by multi-instrumentalist Austin Derryberry, whose credits include fiddle, harmonica, vocals and everything else, the group also includes younger brother Connor Derryberry.

"He was playing the bones when he first started coming here and now he has added banjo."

Downer added that getting to know the artists and fans over the last decade has been among the most gratifying part of producing the event.

"That is one of the neat things — to see young people get turned on and get excited about this kind of music," he said.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.


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