Fiddle Fest Keeps It Traditional

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

Within the citywide celebration that is Arts Walk, there’s nestled a mini-festival with a focus on the fiddle. Fiddle Fest, scheduled for the Friday night of fall Arts Walk, has since 2004 been a showcase for traditional music — an art with a long history. “Traditional music hasn’t always been considered part of the art scene,” said festival founder Carla Wulfsberg. “It’s really nice to have it recognized as an art.”

Bands playing at this year’s festival include two young but much-talked-about acts: The Bow Weevils, a traditional, old-time, string band made up of seasoned musicians aged 11 to 15, will play from 6:30 to 7, and The REDS, a folk quartet composed of two sets of teen brothers who play a wide variety of fiddle tunes, is up from 7:30 to 8 p.m. Both groups have played at a variety of old-time-music festivals and opened for top, traditional-music artists in concerts sponsored by the Arbutus Folk School. Also in the lineup: Irish-music outfit The Burren Band, who open the event from 6 to 6:30; veteran fiddle and mandolin teacher Barbara Collins, who’ll play originals and traditional Western swing from 7 to 7:30; the Contra Quartet, playing tunes from New England and other American old-time music from 8 to 8:30; and Les Gens des Chutes, specializing in French Canadian dance tunes, closing out the fest from 8:30 to 9.

Fiddle Fest began as an effort to bring the traditional music of the some of the people who settled this region to a broader audience, Wulfsberg, who plays with Les Gens des Chutes, said in a recent phone interview. It’s also a tribute to Traditions owner Dick Meyer. “He’s the one who deserves the credit for inspiring us all,” she said. “We’ve had these great traditional-music performers come to Traditions, and some of them have become the mentors of many of us who perform.”

What: Fiddle Fest

Where: Traditions Café,
300 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia

When: 6-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6

How much: free

Get tickets: 360-705-2819 | Traditions

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