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Two bluegrass, country and old-time music events coming up in Unicoi County

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Apr 20, 2018 at 9:01 PM

There will be two large bluegrass and old-time music events taking place in Unicoi County next week, both expected to draw thousands of attendees, according to organizers. 

Upper East Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention, April 27-28

On Friday, April 27 at 7 p.m., the 2nd Annual Upper East Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention will kick off its two-day event with square dancing and a performance by the Green Grass Cloggers at the Old Flag Pond School in Flag Pond. 

The next day, the event, sponsored by the East Tennessee State University Department of Appalachian Studies Old-Time Music program in collaboration with Rocky Fork State Park and the Tennessee Arts Commission, will bring together dozens of fiddlers, banjo players, guitarists and dancers, who will compete from 1 to 6 p.m. before a dinner from 6 to 7:30 p.m. 

Admission costs $10, and an additional $10 to camp.

Roy Andrade, a professor at the ETSU program, said organizers decided to expand the event to two days after the success of last year’s convention. Above all, Andrade said the event is about enjoying the musical culture and old-time music heritage of Northeast Tennessee. 

“Last year, we had upward of 1,000 people show up, which is an extraordinary turnout for year one in any event,” Andrade said. “It’s an opportunity get together and compete, but it’s also a chance for community members to listen and play music on the campgrounds and enjoy fellowship, good food and connecting.

“It’s a time to celebrate – old-time music style.”

Fiddlers and Fiddleheads Festival, April 28 

On Saturday, April 28, the Unicoi Business Alliance will kick off the 23rd Annual Fiddlers and Fiddleheads Festival. The free festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

According to Treasurer Jeff Linville, the annual music festival, held at the Farmhouse Gallery and Gardens in Unicoi, will feature 17 acts on three different stages. Throughout the course of the festival, there will also be craft vendors, a vintage car show, food and open “jam sessions.” 

Last year, Linville said the festival was able to draw a crowd of about 3,000, despite another music event happening on the same day in Unicoi County. 

“It started with just a few acts, and now it's a holiday event,” Linville said of the festival. “It’s been all about just getting together and having a good time.” 

Linville said the event will feature talent from across the region, state and beyond. But in Northeast Tennessee, he said concert-goers can find some of the most talented bluegrass and old-time musicians in the country. 

“We’ve got a lot of talented people right here in the area,” he said. “This year, we have the Unicoi County High School Bluegrass Band, Adam Larkey Band, then we have some people from the ETSU Bluegrass Band coming to play.”

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