Fri 19 Sep 2008
If you are unfamiliar, the Walnut Valley Festival is underway in Winfield, Sep. 17-21. In their own words
The Walnut Valley Association was formed in 1972,with its sole purpose to produce the Walnut Valley National Guitar Flat-Picking Championships Festival, also known as the Flat-Picking Championships, currently known as the “Walnut Valley Festival” or simply “Winfield” to the long time attendees.
Evolving from 2 days in 1972 to its current 4-days the 3rd weekend of September annually, it endeavors to produce “family fare” entertainment on 4 stages simultaneously, a large quality, juried arts and crafts fair, workshops, and acoustic instrument contests. What began with 10 acts and 2 contests now boasts over 40 acts and 8 contests, including one international contest, 5 national contests and 2 Walnut Valley contests.
The contests are a major part of the festival. Along with the National Flat Pick Championships and the National Finger Pick Championships, the Walnut Valley Festival hosts the International Autoharp, National Mountain Dulcimer, National Hammered Dulcimer, National Bluegrass Banjo, Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle, and Walnut Valley Mandolin Championships. Over the course of years, the contests at Winfield have attracted more than 3,000 contestants from all 50 states as well as many foreign countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Caledonia, Switzerland, and Wales. Well-known Winfield winners include Mark O’Connor of Nashville, Tennessee, who has won or placed in more Walnut Valley Festival contests than any other contestant. Mark won the National Guitar Flat-Picking Championship in 1975 and 1977, and also won the Walnut Valley Fiddle Championship in 1974 and 1977. Alison Krauss of Nashville, won the Walnut Valley Fiddle Championship in 1984 and Steve Kaufman of Alcoa, Tennessee, is the only three-time winner of the National Guitar Flat-Picking Contest, having won in the years 1978, 1984, and 1986 respectively. (Tennessee has consistently produced the most winners over the years.) Other Winfield winners include Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, the Mandolin Champion in 1993 and Dixie Chick fiddler Martie Erwin Seidel in 1987 and 89.
Festival attendance has been between 11,000 and 15,000 annually …
While other events are keeping me local, I cannot attend. However comma. I have just found a live stream on Front Porch Radio. If you’re timely, you are sure to enjoy.