National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest & Festival

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Past shows

  • National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest & Festival - FINALS NIGHT!!!

    This show was on Jun 25th, 2016 | 260 people watched
    6 Comments - See all
    • Jun 26
      Great show. Wish you could occasionally change camera angles so that you could see more of the performers. Especially missed the guest Wood group tonight.
    • Jun 26
      What was your favorite part of the performance? Sooo many excellent fiddlers playing so well. What a joy to listen to and watch! But it's all over too soon.
    • Jun 27
      Sorry I didn't know about this. Local family has competed the past 5 years. Would love to have watched.
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  • National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest & Festival - Young Adult Rounds 2-3 - Grand Champ Round 2!

    This show was on Jun 24th, 2016 | 129 people watched
    • Jun 24
    • Jun 25
      Amazing music, I love it so much. Community.
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The NOTFC is organized for the charitable and educational purposes of preserving and promoting oldtime fiddling and related traditional arts. -----------------------------------------------------------------

History of Weiser's Fiddle Contest -

In 1953, the city of Weiser, Idaho began sponsoring an annual contest which has become... more

The NOTFC is organized for the charitable and educational purposes of preserving and promoting oldtime fiddling and related traditional arts. -----------------------------------------------------------------

History of Weiser's Fiddle Contest -

In 1953, the city of Weiser, Idaho began sponsoring an annual contest which has become one of the most formal and prestigious fiddler contests held. In this same year, a contest was held in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, which saw the result of the change in judging. It was now based on standards of skill, hokum was not allowed, and there was a strict time limit for the contestants. Some of the “old-timers” had trouble adapting. One of the fiddlers, Eck Robertson played “Sally Goodin” which he usually played in about eighteen different ways, and at times took five to six minutes to play all the way through. This year, he was about half way through when the whistle blew, but he just kept on playing until someone came onto the stage and took him off. He was disqualified at this contest but in 1962 he won the senior division at Weiser.

The fiddle contests at Weiser today have very clear rules. Each contestant plays three tunes; one of the tunes must be a hoedown, one must be a waltz, the other is a “tune of choice” (something other than a waltz or hoedown). Some contests are held with less restrictions and include audience participation. A time limit is enforced for each fiddler. Contestants are classified into different age groups and judging is based on danceability, oldtime style, rhythm, and tone. If a contestant wins the first round they move onto the second/final round or playoff. At Weiser, competing in all of the playoffs to win the championship takes five rounds and fifteen tunes. One change that has happened in the modern era that began in 1990 or 1991 is that most contests have eliminated the separate ladies division, as acknowledgment that today’s women are as competent as the men and capable of competing on an equal basis.

History of the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest & Festival -

Fiddling came to Weiser in 1863 when the Logans established a way station here and covered wagon emigrants stopped for rest and recreation. Newspaper files report fiddling contests here from 1914 to WWI. The resurrection of fiddling in Weiser was due to efforts led by Blaine Stubblefield, Chamber of Commerce Secretary from 1948 until his death in December, 1960.

Blaine was raised on fiddling in Oregon’s Wallowa Valley above Hells Canyon. He had spent several years researching fiddle music for the Library of Congress. His interest in the music led him to ask the Chamber Directors to allocate $175 for a fiddle contest. Nothing happened until January, 1953, when the idea was proposed to hold the contest during intermissions of the Fifth Annual Weiser Square Dance Festival. Prize money was underwritten by two individuals and the first official fiddling event came to life on April 18, 1953. It was billed as the Northwest Mountain Fiddlers’ Contest and was a huge success. The name was changed to the Northwest Oldtime Fiddling Championships in 1956 when a regional division was added for out-of- area fiddlers.

The present National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest was inaugurated in 1963 in conjunction with Idaho’s Territorial Centennial observances. Through all these years of fiddling in Weiser, the town of 5,200 people pulls hundreds of volunteers together each year in support of their nationally recognized event. This week of intense competition and endless jamming brings together young and old for the purpose of perpetuating fiddling around the world. The National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest now certifies fiddling contests in 29 states in order to facilitate interest and maintain the integrity of fiddling contests. Almost 350 contestants compete in 9 divisions each year. The week long competition also includes musical entertainment nightly from groups from around the U.S.

Once you’ve been to the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest you’ll see why Weiser has been recognized as the “Fiddling Capital Of The World”!


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