Music & Arts

  • Galax's mandolin reign comes to an end

    At this year’s Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention, 491 mandolin players who stood in line, registered, waited in the sweltering heat and then played four songs together, left proud in the knowledge that they had helped set a new Guinness record for “World’s Largest Mandolin Ensemble.”

    Though paperwork had to be verified, nothing seemed any different from the last time the record was broken in 2012, also at the convention.

    Unfortunately, however, this year the Guinness World Records officials chose to disagree.

  • Fries fiddlers' convention is Aug. 14-15

    FRIES — The 49th Annual Fries Bluegrass and Fiddlers Convention will be held Friday and Saturday at the old Providence Elementary School Grounds/Jamie Hyatt Arena.

    The arena is at 56 Bainbridge Road in Fries, at the intersection with Spring Valley Road.

    Friday night’s competition will begin at 7 p.m. and includes guitar, old-time fiddle, bluegrass fiddle, old-time banjo, mandolin, Autoharp, flatfoot dance, bluegrass bands and old-time bands.

    Saturday’s Youth Competition will begin at 3 p.m. and includes all adult categories.

  • Galax Old Fiddlers' Convention 2015 Winners

    Winners of the 80th Annual Galax Old Fiddlers' Convention, held Aug. 3-8, 2015, in Felts Park, included:

    Best All-Around Perfomer

    Jake Krack, Marlington, W.Va. — Old-Time Fiddle

    Old-Time Fiddle

    1. Jake Krack, Marlington, W.Va.

    2. Jacob Bowen, State Road, N.C.

    3. Richard Bowman, Mount Airy, N.C.

    4. Billy Hurt, Boones Mill

    5. Henry Barnes, Columbus, Ohio

    6. Ivy Phillips, Chapmansboro, Tenn.

    7. Rex McGee, King, N.C.

  • Oscar Hall has seen it all in 50 years at convention

    Copyright 2015, WVTF Public Radio

    Reprinted with permission

    The 80th Old Fiddlers’ Convention is going on in Galax this week. For most of the people in Felts Park, it’s a vacation and a celebration, but for members of the Galax Moose Lodge, it’s a lot of work and an important fundraiser – and one lodge member has been among the Moose managing the convention for half a century.

  • City Gallery celebrates 10 years

    By D.T. CLARK, Staff

    A little more than 10 years ago, the interest and ability pooled by a small group of artisans in Galax reached a tipping point.

    They agreed to share ownership in a storefront building downtown, and to invite other artists to join them in their retail venture.

  • Mandolin players shatter world record in Galax

    Describing the sound of 491 mandolins all playing the same song at the same time is almost impossible, though you can try:

    A choir of extremely cheerful angels.

    A thousand silver needles dipped in liquid sugar and dropped on a polished mirror.

    A very melodic rain hitting a perfectly smooth lake.

    (As one musician remarked to another afterwards, “I was afraid it would sound like a bunch of bumblebees trapped in a dryer.” Thankfully, he was wrong.)

  • Old Tunes, New Talent: Youth Night at the Galax Fiddlers' Convention

    Young musicians took the stage in Felts Park on Monday for the convention’s annual Youth Night. Now in its 15th year, the night has grown into one of the most popular for the week-long music festival in Galax.

  • Robbins' photos capture musical moments

    Professional photographer Mark Robbins isn’t a Southwest Virginia native, but that doesn’t stop him from making the trip to the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention every year.

    Originally from Norfolk, Robbins lives in Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, and comes to the Twin Counties in what he refers to as a “stag weekend with my guy friends.”

  • Fiddlers flocking to Galax for weeklong festival

    Staff Reports

    Galax’s population will soar in the coming week, as thousands of fiddlin’ fans descend on the city. Felts Park will open its gates at 7 a.m. Sunday for the 80th Annual Old Fiddlers’ Convention. The competition opens Monday night and lasts through Aug. 8.

    Most of the convention’s expected 1,300 campers will show up Sunday to set up camp.

  • Musicians tune up to retake world record

    Got a mandolin and even a rudimentary ability to play it?

    Tara Linhardt wants you to come to the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention on Aug. 4 at 1 p.m. to help make history — again.

    In 2012, the world’s largest mandolin ensemble – 389 strong – came together at the Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax. That’s not just an idle boast; the event made the Guinness Book of World Records.