July 30, 2008

String Band Music Festival Scheduled

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History's 19th Appalachian String Band Music Festival will be held July 30 through Aug. 3 at Camp Washington-Carver in Clifftop, Fayette County.

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, July 31, neo- traditional string band on Friday, Aug. 1, and traditional string band on Saturday, Aug. 2. 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. 2, emphasizes the flatfoot style, and awards three prizes ranging from $25 to $75 in four age categories.

Workshops, which include beginning flatfoot dancing, beginning square dancing and ballad/gospel singing, 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 storytelling, bingo, arts and crafts, pottery, tie dying, banjo slow jams, basket making, Allegheny Echoes' "Please Touch the Instruments," Three Rivers Avian Center demonstrations, wheat weaving, making split bottom woven stools, yoga and more.

Craft, food and instrument vendors 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.

Daily admission is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors (60 and over) and youth (6-17). Children under 5 may attend for free. 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, $90 per family and $80 per senior family. The rough camping rate and daily admission fee includes admission to all activities.

A scenic 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.

For more information about the Appalachian String Band Music Festival and a complete schedule of events, call (304) 438-3005 or (304) 558-0162, or visit the Division's Web site at www.wvculture.org/stringband/index.html.

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