While COVID-19 travel restrictions prevented most international fans from attending the Mount Airy Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddler convention over the weekend, many fans across the United States were more than happy to see the event will return after a forced interruption by the pandemic last year.
“I don’t know how many people were in attendance,” said Judy Joyner, who, along with her husband, Doug Joyner, was in charge of this year’s festival. “But I had 700 car registrations and gave them all.”
This, she said, did not include people who parked their vehicles in nearby streets and entered the festival.
“We got a lot of feedback from people who came and told us they were happy to be here, happy the convention is back,” said Michael Thorpe, former park board member and long-time volunteer. date of the festival. “We have a good crowd and no rain,” he added.
Jim Vipperman, a local musician and music teacher who oversaw Friday workshops organized by the Surry Arts Council, estimated that he saw at least 150 people attending the various classes that day.
“And the convention doesn’t even start until later,” he said mid-afternoon on Friday.
Judy Joyner said that while she and her husband oversaw the convention, many volunteers were needed to organize the event, especially since they weren’t sure until the end of March that there would be a convention. this year.
She especially credited Randy and Tanya Hiatt with being one of the main reasons the convention went so well.
Randy Hiatt, a longtime musician many people know as “Frosty,” said he met people from Florida, New York and New Orleans at the event. Other attendees included fans and musicians from across North Carolina and Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Kentucky, Tennessee and across the south. A quick walk in the parking lot sometimes showed license plates from as far away as California and Alaska.
While many come to the convention to renew old friendships, buy and sell music-related products, and participate in spontaneous jam sessions, competition and music and dance performances still take center stage. This year was no exception, with dozens of musicians participating in nearly two dozen separate competitions.
The winners included:
Adult folk song: first place was Stewart Werner III, of Rocky Mount, Virginia; the second was Elsa Howell of Roanoke, Virginia; the third was Eliza Meyer of Raleigh; the fourth was Tommy Nichols of Mount Airy and the fifth was John Curtis Combs of Crown, Kentucky;
Adult Kentucky Bluegrass Band: Harrison Ridge of Mount Airy; Socially remote from Westfield; Mountain Blessings and Appalachian Mainline, both from Mount Airy; and Coyote Ugly, of Kingsport, Tennessee;
Adult Bluegrass Violin: Ruth Shumway of West Jefferson; Cody Bauer of Knoxville, Tennessee; Amanda Harrell of Durham; Crystal Shippley of Wytheville, Virginia; and Willie Marschner of Fairfax;
Adult Bluegrass Banjo: Andy Lowe of Apex; Ronnie Harrison of Woodlawn, Virginia; Tommy Mosre of Stuart, Virginia; Stewart Werner III, of Rocky Mount, Virginia; Eddie Ray Buzzini of Mooresville;
Adult Guitar: Kyser George of Mount Airy; Chad Harrison from Claudeville, Virginia; Gus McGee of King; Steve Kilby of Mouth of Wilson, Virginia; and Conner Stevens of Johnson City, Tennessee;
Adult bass: John Fogleman of Liberty; David George of Mount Airy; Barbara Bowman of Mount Airy; Wayne Bailey, no hometown listed; and Mike Plumley of Pilot Mountain;
Adult Dobro: Charlie Milliron from Ferrum, Virginia; Robert Ellis of Mocksville; Donnie Scott of Mount Airy; Billy Bourne of Woodlawn; and Keith Aiken of Henderson;
Adult Mandolin: Addie Levy from Radford, Virginia; Daniel Ullom of Asheville; Scott Freeman of Woodlawn; Ralph McGee of King and Todd Hiatt of State Road;
Adult dance: Michael Motley, no hometown listed; Phil Jamison, no hometown listed; Danny Knicely, no hometown listed; Marsha Todd, Mont Airy; and Becky Boyd, no hometown listed;
Adult Old Time Band: Stateline Playboys from Lowgap; The Alum Ridge Boys and Ashleen of Floyd, Virginia; Civil Gap of Sparta; Slate Mont Ramblers du Mont Airy; and Five Mile Mountain Road in Boones Mill, Virginia;
Old Time Adult Violin: Erynn Marshall of Galax, Virginia; Andrew Small of Floyd; Richard Bowman of Mount Airy; Marci Shore of King, and Lucas Paslay of Sparta;
Banjo Old Time Adult: Marsha Todd of Mount Airy; Jared Boyd and Trish Fore, both of Galax; Nancy Sluys of Westfield; and Michael Motley, no hometown listed;
Adult Dulcimer: Frank Horn from North Tazwell, Virginia; Ehutkai Teves from Bryson City; Tim Thorton of Shawsville, Virginia; John Renwick of Charlotte County, Virginia; and Chad Ritchie from Taylorsville;
Youth Bluegrass Band: Southbound 77 of Statesville took top honors.
Bluegrass Youth Violin: Lake Carver, Mocksville; Hollace Oakes, Radford; Whitney Thornton, Hurdle Mills; Camden Fain, Ararat, Virginia; Neely Sizemore, Elkin;
Youth Banjo Bluegrass: Candace Noah, Dobson; David Arispe, Mont Airy;
Youth folk song: Ida Rose Buzzini, Mooresville; Carver Lake, Mocksville; Lyla Cherry, Mooresville; Tae Childress, Statesville; Bayla Davis, Leicester;
Youth Old Time Fiddle: Finton McGrath of Rockbridge County, Virginia; Sylvie Davis of Leicester; Hunter Hiatt of State Road, Jacob Shelton, no hometown listed; Lily Arispe, Mont Airy;
Youth Old Time Banjo: Logan Thompson from Glade Springs, Virginia; Kalya Davis of Leicester;
Youth guitar: Malachi Bulman from Pinnacle; Levi Arispe of Mount Airy, Maeve McGrath of Rockbridge County; Daniel Rock of Pfafftown; Judah Davis of Leicester;
Youth Mandolin: Loralyn Thorton of Hurdle Mills; Logan Harrison of Claudeville; Natalie Sizemore of Elkin; Emme Davis of Leicester;
Youth dance: Candace Noah of Dobson; Gracie Terry of the Bahamas; Elkin’s Neely Sizemore; Isaiah Imperial of Thomasville; Malyn Todd of Mount Airy;
Most Promising Youth Award: Candace Noah of Dobson.