Music will drift across the valley when fiddlers gather for the 13th Annual Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention on Labor Day weekend, Friday, September 1 to Sunday, September 3, in Lenoir. The family-friendly festival celebrates traditional old-time and bluegrass music and rural traditions while raising funds for youth scholarships and music programs.
“I performed the very first song for this festival when it began,” says Bob Henson, who plays guitar and sings for the Neighbors Band. The band has played at every festival except one and will be there this year. “Music is deeply rooted in our area,” Henson says, “and the fans have some pretty high standards.”
The Upper Yadkin River Valley encompasses Caldwell and Wilkes counties and is known locally as Historic Happy Valley, with settlers having arrived there in the late 1700s. Its history includes being home to Daniel Boone for a time and being the birthplace of Thomas Dula, who inspired the infamous ballad, Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley.
The weekend is filled with events including a cake walk, dances and dance workshops, music competitions and storytelling. Sunday’s concerts include the classical/folk music of the Kruger Brothers, Grammy-Award-winning musician and poet Dom Flemons and Americana duo, The Harris Brothers.
“The festival is unique,” Henson says, “due to being small and intimate and allowing for easy interaction between all who attend. You can find old friends there on a regular basis.”
The Jones Farm is located at 3590 NC-268 between Lenoir and North Wilkesboro. Advance discounted tickets will be available at the Caldwell Arts Council beginning in mid-August. Tickets at the gate are $5 per person on Friday and $10 per person on Saturday and Sunday. Those ages 15 and under are admitted free. To learn more, visit happyvalleyfiddlers.org.