Celebrating NC’s musical traditions, The Hoppin’ John Old-Time & Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention takes place September 15-17


Silk Hope, NC – The Shakori Hills Community Arts Center presents the Annual Hoppin’ John Old-Time & Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention, marking its 10-year anniversary. 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. The event also features workshops, musician showcases, square and Cajun dances, 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 event begins Thursday with campers coming in for the weekend with small campground jams popping up throughout the grounds and a square dance with house band, The Hoppin’ Johnnies and Pittsboro caller, Carol Thompson. The momentum picks up as the weekend progresses with Saturday boasting the bulk of activities, including the popular Hoppin’ John Cook-Off and a special evening concert with Alice Gerrard and Friends. There will be square dances every night and a Cajun dance with Unknown Tongues on Saturday night.

Keeping true to the Shakori Hills mission of community education, Hoppin’ John offers musician showcases and music workshops as well. In addition to the Saturday evening concert, Alice Gerrard will also be featured in Friday evening “Master’s Showcase.” In her career spanning over 50 years, Alice has earned worldwide respect for her important contributions to the world of folk music. She is particularly known for her collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s. Alice has released four solo albums to critical acclaim, including her most recent album, Follow the Music, which was nominated for a 2015 Grammy. Her lifetime’s work includes dozens of recording and songwriting partnerships, including two documentary films. A tireless advocate of traditional music, Alice has won numerous honors, including an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award, a Virginia Arts Commission Award, the North Carolina Folklore Society’s Tommy Jarrell Award, and an Indy Award. Shakori Hills is honored to showcase this local legend at our 10th Annual convention.

The showcases also feature local fiddling legend, Bill Hicks, and author and historian Bob Carlin. Some workshop highlights include “Gypsy Jazz” with Gabriel Pelli of The Old Ceremony, Fiddle Instruction with NPR’s Paul Brown, and special offerings in instrument setup and maintenance and square dance calling.

Hoppin’ John offers a full day of family activities on Saturday. Starting with Songs and Stories with early childhood educator and local musician, Tim Wells. Other events throughout the day include two “hootenanny hayrides,” a cake walk, separate contest categories for children 15 and under, as well as a kids’ craft tent to keep the little ones busy while parents shop or participate in the contests. The popular Hoppin’ John Cook-Off will also return. Along with cash prizes and free admission for the day, cook-off participants may display a business banner at their cooking table, and the winner gets the “Golden Skillet,” and a free ad in the Spring Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival program.

Musical contests include: band (old-time, bluegrass, and non-traditional), old-time and bluegrass instrument (fiddle and banjo), guitar, bass, mandolin, folk song, and dance. Children’s separate categories are fiddle, banjo, and other instrument. Cash prizes will be awarded for a total of $3500.

Along with these scheduled offerings, Hoppin’ John festival-goers will tell you that the real treasure is in the campgrounds. Impromptu musical sessions or “jams” of attending musicians are the reason many people attend – whether to play or just listen and marvel at the talents and eclectic combinations of players.

North Carolina has several popular and long-enduring fiddlers’ conventions, yet Hoppin’ John is the only one in the Piedmont. The convention helps keep the musical roots of our region 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. Staff, friends, and long-time attendees of the event look forward to celebrating this 10-year milestone.

There will be great craft and musical instrument vendors as well as food vendors, including the Shakori Hills Pizza Shack and BBQ. Folks can bring the family and stay for the weekend!

Tickets & Admission
(Gate prices. Discounted weekend tickets available now through 9/15 online):
Weekend Contestant Tickets – $20
Thursday Admission – Free
Friday Admission – $12
Saturday Admission – $14
Saturday-only Contestant Ticket – $15
Camping – $10 per vehicle per night (free on Thursday) – $15 per night for RVs
Day Parking is Free!
Children 15 and under receive Free General and Contestant Admission!
Tickets at www.shakorihills.org/event/10th-annual-hoppin-john-old-time-bluegrass-fiddlers-convention/

More info and schedule are available at www.hoppinjohn.org.