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Free Fiddle Workshops & Jams ("Fiddle Hell") near Boston, Nov 14-16, 2008

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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 of Nov 2-4, 2007, we had 110+ musicians, mostly fiddlers, at the third Massachusetts Fiddle Hell, including fiddlers from 10 states and 4 foreign countries!

There is no registration process -- fiddlers can just show up when they like. We have very limited space for non-fiddlers; please contact me first. We do need to pay the Inn for the space, and we have various other expenses, so we'd appreciate a donation of $20 or so when you're there, if you can afford it.

There will be lots of different styles represented at Fiddle Hell, by fiddlers with a variety of experience, which makes it all the more interesting. Last year, we played and heard New England, Irish, bluegrass, swing, Texas. Scottish, Southern and French-Canadian styles. The only "optional but encouraged" requirements are: (1) to play a tune of your choice for the group on Saturday night; and (2) to play along with the group (on the tunes you know) when we all play the same tunes together. Fiddle Hell is loosely sponsored by the Fiddle and Alternative Strings Forum. At this website, you'll find discussions, event listings, and other resources; you can join for free and read about past and future Fiddle Hell meetings.

Where & when:The Colonial Inn, 48 Monument Square, in Concord, Massachusetts, 01742 (phone 978-369-9200), a beautiful old New England inn built in 1716, about a half hour west of Boston. Pre-Fiddle-Hell Workshops will be Friday (Nov. 4), 9:30AM-5PM. Fiddle Hell itself will be Friday (Nov. 4) from 5PM to midnight or later, Saturday(Nov. 5) from 9AM to midnight or later, and Sunday (Nov. 6) from 9AM to 6PM. 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 Concord area.

Lodging: The Colonial Inn has great rooms if you'd like to stay over. Prices are reduced for Fiddle Hell attendees, of course. Single or double rooms in the Prescott Wing are $115/night plus tax. The Inn also has "Historic Rooms" at $145/night plus tax. All rooms include continental breakfast. To make reservations for 2011, call 978-369-9200 or 800-370-9200 and ask for the Fiddle Hell discount. Book your room now to be sure! There's lots of free parking at the Inn and nearby.

Note: If you had previously booked a room at the Old Groton Inn, call Vicki at 978-448-5614 or email to ask for a refund of your deposit. If you had previously booked a room at the Westford Regency Inn, we suggest you cancel that reservation by calling 800-543-780, and then rebook at the Colonial Inn, so you can stay right on site at Fiddle Hell.

Food: For Fiddle Hell attendees, buffet lunch and buffet dinner will be available on Saturday, and buffet lunch on Sunday, at reasonable rates. Alternatively, the Colonial Inn has two fine restaurants, one casual and one traditional, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Activities: The Inn has large and medium sized meeting rooms with comfortable chairs, and we'll also be using some of the rooms across the street at the Masonic Lodge for the largest gatherings and workshops. During the weekend, we'll be able to split out into many simultaneous jams in smaller rooms and hallways throughout the Inn and in the bar (which has a piano). We already have several very interesting workshops planned, on bowing shuffles, playing backup on fiddle, chop bowing, free improvisation, left hand technique, hot licks, bluegrass fiddling, oldtime fiddling, Swedish fiddling, contradance fiddling, learning Orange Blossom Special, and fiddling for kids. We've also set up jams in particular styles, like Oldtime Southern, Irish, Cape Breton / Scottish, Cajun, Scandinavian, Klezmer, and Western Swing. There will be half-speed tune workshops Friday night and early Saturday to prepare for the common tunes on Saturday night.

The Inn's bar has a nice ambiance and excellent choices of craft beers on tap. Under-age fiddlers may attend Fiddle Hell, but obviously can't drink alcohol. We will be inviting selected local players (fiddlers and otherwise) to join in the jams. Various violin vendors will have their wares on display - try them out! And we'll have bow rehairing, minor fiddle repairs and tweaking on the spot. Free giveaways worth more than $1000 on Saturday night and Sunday at 12:50PM from D'Addario, CodaBow, FiddlePics (great vintage photos of fiddlers!) and from Dave Reiner. More giveaways to be added shortly.

Here are directions if you're local. The nearest airports are Boston, MA and Manchester, NH. There are several trains and buses to Concord. Cabs are available, but there are various sharing and pickup options available. Perhaps someone local will offer to help with an airport pickup, or give a ride from the Boston T (subway) stop at Alewife in Cambridge.

Questions: Email me or call me at (781)-863-0140, or post to the FH threads on Fiddle Forum with any questions. More info on my website at my website, including schedule, common tunes list, and jamming guidelines.

Classically trained? Why not give fiddling a try?

Dave Reiner

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Just in case you need a few more reasons to join us for the upcoming Nov. 14-16 weekend in Groton, MA :)

Saturday night, Nov 15th:

Free Coda bow giveaway (high-end Diamond SX model, retail value $575) to one lucky fiddler who is present, thanks to the Codabow company!

Free violin case giveaway thanks to Michael Richwine of Kansas City Strings!

Fiddle bottle giveaways to youngest fiddler present, oldest fiddler present, and fiddler who has traveled from farthest away. Previous winners ineligible.

Sunday 1PM, Nov. 16th:

Free Bobelock violin case giveaway (new model 4002, retail value $200) to one lucky fiddler who is present, thanks to the Bobelock company!

Free Engels fiddle stand giveaway thanks to Michael Richwine of Kansas City Strings!


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