The West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s 18th Appalachian String Band Music Festival will be held Aug. 1-5 at Camp Washington-Carver in Clifftop. The popular annual festival draws thousands of string band musicians and fans from across the country and around the world for its contests, concerts, dancing and workshops.
Music contests include banjo and fiddle on Thursday, Aug. 2, neo-traditional string band on Friday, Aug. 3, and traditional string band on Saturday, Aug. 4. The top five winners in each category will receive prizes ranging from $100 to $700 for bands and $50 to $400 for fiddle and banjo. Senior (age 60 and over) and youth (age 15 and under) categories in fiddle and banjo also are available, with the top three winners in each category receiving awards. The old-time dance contest on Saturday, Aug. 4, emphasizes the flat foot style, and awards prizes ranging from $25 to $75 in three age categories.
Workshops, which include beginning square dancing and flat foot dancing, are included with festival admission. Nightly square dances in the Great Chestnut Lodge and outdoor concerts on Friday and Saturday evening are additional festival attractions. Highlights for children and families include yoga, bingo, pottery, arts and crafts, bead jewelry, tie dying, basket making, wire wrapping, slow jams with dulcimer, guitar and banjo, split bottom woven stool making, Three Rivers Avian Center demonstrations, Allegheny Echoes’ Please Touch the Instruments and more. Food and instrument vendors and craft demonstrators will be set up on the grounds and in the Great Chestnut Lodge. In addition, there will be three masters showcases featuring prominent old-time musicians.
The neo-traditional band contest also will award ribbons for the best new original composition for both a tune and song. The ribbons will be given based upon the composition’s mastery of the old-time aesthetic, artistic merit, originality and innovation. A special workshop will be held on Friday, Aug. 3, to give musicians an opportunity to share their original tunes and songs inspired by old-time music with others, from the traditional to the unusual and “edgy.”
Daily admission is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and youth aged six to 17 years of age. Rough camping for the five-day festival is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $45 for adults, $40 for seniors and youth, or $90 per family. The rough camping rate and daily admission fee includes admission to all activities.
A beautiful retreat listed in the National Register of Historic Places and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Camp Washington-Carver serves as the state’s mountain cultural arts center. The facility nurtures the cultural heritage embodied in the site since its dedication in 1942 as a 4-H and agricultural extension camp for West Virginia’s African Americans. The camp is located in Fayette County adjacent to Babcock State Park, just off Rt. 60 (Midland Trail) on Rt. 41.
For more information and a complete schedule of festival events, call (304) 438-3005 or (304) 558-0162 or visit the Division’s web site at www.wvculture.org.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operated a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit the web site at www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.