Blackwood Fiddlers Convention, 18th to 21st Feb 2011
Submitted by Steve Jackson – Vic.
I asked Steve Jackson to write up his experience to Blackwood this year.
We arrived at Blackwood Fiddler’s Convention at midday and after setting up camp we settled in to some jamming which went on for most of the afternoon. The cricket ground is adjacent to a very pleasant creek which provided alternative entertainment for the kids. The evening required some hunkering down as the weather turned sour and about an inch of rain fell overnight. Intrepid pickers could still be heard everywhere braving the conditions.
Saturday provided delightful weather and soon the ground was dried out and people were everywhere, jamming, yarning and dancing. For those brave enough the creek was a refreshing dip.
Workshops were delivered by luminaries such as Jesse Wells (fiddle), Andrew Clearmont (guitar) and Evan Webb (Dobro), to name a few. I always pick up some great tips at these, (even if they are not for my instrument) – I went to a Ukelele workshop which included excellent musicianship advice. Later in the evening top notch acts performed and there was some pretty tasty Thai and Indian vittles to be had on site.
I took a break from playing and spent time wandering around absorbing the vibe from the many jams that sprang up everywhere. Mick Coates and crew were a great find in the near darkness, performing a cappella, then later accompanied by Olly (Oliver Dear)on ukulele. Nearby colourful two-part vocals were heard from authentically dressed folk with a small lantern illuminating the chord charts. Opposite our campsite, a circle of players delivered song after song of classics driven by impeccable rhythm.
Despite patches of adverse weather the convention was well attended and very satisfying. I am looking forward to the next Fiddler’s Convention at Yarra Junction from the 1st to the 4th of April, also organised by Ken McMaster.