Fiddlers’ Frolic


Fiddlers’ Frolic

2008 Festival - Fiddler's Frolic







Fiddlers, other instrumentalists and those who like to listen to good, toe-tapping fiddle music are invited to the Fiddlers’ Frolic at the annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival. The frolic begins at 5 p.m. Friday, June 1, on the east lawn of the West Plains Civic Center. The two-day annual event in downtown West Plains, Mo., celebrates Ozarks music and culture.  Admission to all festival events is free. Festival hours are 3-9 p.m. Friday, and noon-9 p.m. Saturday.


This year’s event will be led by fiddle historian and fiddler Howard Marshall. For more than four decades, Howard Marshall has been devoted to conserving, studying, and carrying on traditional fiddle music. A member of a pioneer Randolph County family and a retired University of Missouri professor of art history, Marshall has played fiddle since the late 1960s. He notes that there has been a fiddler in every generation of his family since at least 1830.


An annual component of the festival, the Fiddlers Frolic gives participating fiddlers an opportunity to select and lead tunes in an open jam session.  It focuses principally on traditional fiddling found in this region, but traditional is defined broadly and flexibly, and fiddlers of all backgrounds, stylistic orientations and skill levels are welcome to participate.


“It’s always enjoyable and really fascinating to hear the participating fiddlers exchange tunes and compare notes, in multiple senses of the word,” Meacham said.  “We know that there will be folks on hand who are very knowledgeable about the history of fiddling in this part of the country and will provide interesting commentary on many of the tunes that will be played.”


One of the goals of the Fiddlers Frolic is to help conserve and perpetuate old-time tunes and techniques.  As a result, it tends to emphasize traditional fiddling, but traditions are always evolving, and the group doesn’t want to define tradition in an artificially rigid way, so fiddlers of all kinds are strongly encouraged to join in. And, of course, we’ll need banjoists, guitarists and other instrumentalists to provide accompaniment.  Everyone’s welcome.


Marshall will have copies of the new book and companion CD, published by the University of Missouri Press, available for purchase and signing in the Civic Center Lobby on Friday at 6 pm.


For more information about The Fiddlers Frolic, contact Matt Meacham at 417-372-3177, or the West Plains Council on the Arts at