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Free fiddle workshops and jams near Boston, Nov. 2-4, 2007

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What: Fiddle Hell is a free, informal gathering of fiddlers to meet, jam, learn, and have fun. The invention of the late, great fiddler Dale Hopkins, Fiddle Hell occurs periodically in fun locations worldwide. Prior Fiddle Hells have occurred in the US, the UK, and Germany. The term Fiddle Hell refers to the Saturday night portion of the program when all the fiddlers play a few tunes in unison. Last year, during the weekend, we had 110 musicians, mostly fiddlers, at the second Massachusetts Fiddle Hell. In 2007, we expect more, including fiddlers from Texas, Florida, and Europe! How about some more of you out-of-staters flying or driving in? Make your plans now! Pass the word to your fiddling friends! Come for a day or the whole weekend. Last year, we had New England, Irish, bluegrass, swing, Scottish, Texas, Southern & French-Canadian fiddlers.

Where & when: The Stagecoach Inn, 128 Main Street, Route 119, in Groton, Massachusetts, 01450 (phone 877-782-4346), a beautiful old country inn about an hour west of Boston. The times are Friday from 6PM to midnight, Saturday from 9AM to midnight, and Sunday from 9AM to 5PM. Come join us for a single day or the whole weekend. If you're coming from far, come early or stay on -- there's lots to do and see in the area.

Lodging: The Stagecoach Inn has great rooms if you'd like to stay over. Single or double rooms (2 beds) are about $95/night. The Inn has 17 rooms - let's fill them all! For the Boston area, these prices are quite reasonable. Book your room now to be sure -- ask for Vicki at 877-782-4346 and tell her you're coming to Fiddle Hell.

Food: The Stagecoach Inn has a good restaurant for dinner. Lunch will be available there on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday morning, or you can forage elsewhere.

Activities: The Inn has several big rooms, and we'll be headquartered in the Grandma Moses room near the restaurant. This will accommodate everybody Saturday night. During the weekend, we'll be able to split out into 3 or 4 simultaneous jams in smaller rooms around the bar and porch. The Inn is charging us for the space, and we have other expenses, so we'll ask for a small donation to help out ($20?). We already have several very interesting workshops planned, on bowing shuffles, chords for fiddle, chunky chop bowing, rags, and fiddling for kids. We've also set up some jams in particular styles, like Oldtime, Scottish, Irish and Western Swing. There will be a half-speed tune workshop early Saturday to prepare for the common tunes on Saturday night.

The Inn's bar has a nice ambiance, with a couple of adjacent rooms with tables; this is where the Boston Bluegrass Union has monthly jam sessions. So the Inn is used to dealing with musicians and jam sessions. Usually we get at least 3 jams going on simultaneously with the BBU. Under-age fiddlers may attend this event, but obviously can't drink alcohol. We have invited quite a few selected local players (fiddlers and otherwise) to join in the jams.

Getting there: The nearest airports are Boston, MA and Manchester, NH. Cabs are available, but there are various sharing and pickup options available.

Questions: Email me or call me (my website has contact info).

I have posted the (tentative) schedule of workshops and jams on my website, and also the common tune list for Saturday night.

Hope to see you there!

Dave Reiner

Co-author, Oldtime Fiddling Across America

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Two days and counting...

Fiddlers are coming from 10 states and two foreign countries.

We've added more jams and workshops for different fiddle styles and techniques, including several slow-speed workshops on common tunes, and a kids' workshop on Sunday.

If this were an "official" weekend fiddle camp it would cost you $300 or more! We ask for a $20 donation -- if you can afford it.

See you there...


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