The Mountain City Fiddlers Convention was held in the East Tennessee town of Mountain City, in May 1925. The gathering was attended by many acclaimed Appalachian musicians, and pioneers of bluegrass and country music, such as G. B. Grayson, Charlie Bowman, and Al Hopkins. The contest helped to define the music of East Tennessee, and along with the Bristol recording sessions of 1927, and the Johnson City sessions of 1928 and 1929, it is regarded as one of the events which helped to launch the modern country music industry.
Dudley Vance, of Bluff City, Tennessee, won first prize, with his performance of "Twinkle Little Star". G. B. Grayson, born in 1887, and a native of Johnson County, was also a prize winner for his version of Cumberland Gap.
Music festivals inspired by the original
The Mountain City convention has been the inspiration for other festivals and competitions, each featuring fiddlers and other old-time musicians.
Old Time Fiddler's Convention
The Old Time Fiddler's Convention takes place in the nearby town of Laurel Bloomery, and is held the Saturday before Labor Day weekend at the Old Mill Music Park. It commemorates the annual anniversary of the 1925 gathering. Local, regional, and international musicians travel to attend this festival, which is marked with old time folk and bluegrass music.
G. B. Grayson is interred in Gentry Cemetery, in Laurel Bloomery. He mentions the town in the 1928 Victor recording of the song Train 45: "I'm a goin' to Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, Henry..."
Upper East Tennessee Fiddler's Convention
In late April, 2017, the first annual Upper East Tennessee Fiddler's Convention was held in the community of Flag Pond, in Unicoi County, Tennessee. Among other goals, the event helps support Rocky Fork State Park.
- ^ "Old-time fiddler's convention coming to Flag Pond".
- ^ "The Johnson County Fiddlers Convention at Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee By Mark Freed". www.oldtimeherald.org.
- ^ "Early Records of Oldtime Music From East Tennessee - talkingfiddle". sites.google.com.
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- ^ "Various - A Fiddlers' Convention In Mountain City, Tennessee". Discogs.
- ^ "A Fiddler's Convention in Mountain City, Tennessee". 28 November 2011.
- ^ "Fiddle and Old-time Music Contests - Tennessee Encyclopedia".
- ^ "Fiddlers Convention - Johnson County - Laurel Bloomery, TN". laurelbloomeryjohnsoncountyfiddlers.yolasite.com.
- ^ Cox, Bob L. (2007). Fiddlin' Charlie Bowman: An East Tennessee Old-time Music Pioneer and his Musical Family. University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 978-1-57233-566-0.
- ^ A Fiddler's Convention in Mountain City Archived 2013-12-13 at the Wayback Machine., Tennessee, from "History of Johnson County 1986" by Thomas W. Gentry, accessed January 9, 2010, on Clarence Ashley website, maintained by Scott Moore.
- ^ FNO, Festivalnet. "Fiddlers Convention 2019, a Music Festival in Laurel Bloomery,...". festivalnet.com.
- ^ Gilliam Banmon "G.B." Grayson at Find a Grave
- ^ Minton, John (2008). 78 Blues: Folksongs and Phonographs in the American South. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 134-135. ISBN 978-1-934110-19-5.
- ^ "Fiddler's convention brings hundreds to Flag Pond".
- ^ "Fiddler's Convention". www.etsu.edu.
- ^ "Upper East Tennessee Fiddler's Convention - The Laurel of Asheville". 26 April 2017.