FIDDLE HELL

2017

November 3 – 5
Westford, Massachusetts

  • Andy and Dave at Fiddle Hell Concert 2016
  • Workshops Fiddle Hell 2016 Art Gallery
  • Dave Kaynor
  • Workshop
  • Dance after FH Concert 2016
  • Darol Anger Bruce Molsky
  • Shari Clark
  • Cellosaurus Stomp
  • Fiddle Hell Sign
- Thanks to our Fiddle Hell photographer, Joni Lohr, for these fine photos.

Fiddle Hell Massachusetts

Fiddle Hell Massachusetts is a yearly gathering of fiddlers, cellists, and mandolin/guitar/banjo players to meet, jam, learn, and have fun. It's both friendly and diverse, crossing all ages and including many traditional fiddle styles. Typically, there are about 20% beginners, 50% intermediates, and 30% advanced players, with many workshop and jam session choices at each level. Roughly 15% of the attendees are kids, and there are some sessions just for them.

The invention of the late, great fiddler Dale Hopkins from Missouri, Fiddle Hell occurs periodically in fun locations worldwide. Prior Fiddle Hells have occurred in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany. Dale used the term "Fiddle Hell" to refer to the unique sound of many fiddlers playing a tune together. While Dale's two Fiddle Hell gatherings involved performances for the public as well as some informal sharing of tunes and techniques, Dave Reiner extended the concept to make Fiddle Hell Massachusetts more of a fiddle camp for all ages, with hundreds of scheduled workshops and jam sessions led by a wonderful group of experienced and supportive instructors.

It's amazing


Voodoo Fiddlehead

Last year (2016), we had 430+ musicians, mostly fiddlers, at the twelfth Massachusetts Fiddle Hell. They came from as far away as the Netherlands, Scotland, Québec City (Canada), California, Alabama, and Florida, and from as near as Westford itself.

Fiddlers are welcome, and so are mandolin players, cellists, violists, guitar and banjo players, and singers. We'll have workshops and jams for all these instruments (and for singers) in 2017. Other instrumentalists, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. first to ask, since there is limited space at Fiddle Hell. We do request that any accompanying instrumentalists only play styles and tunes they are familiar with, and ask before joining jam sessions.

This amazing gathering starts at 11AM on Friday and goes until 6PM on Sunday (Nov. 3-5, 2017). There will be more than 375 instructor-led workshops and jam sessions. Really! As well, there will be lots of informal jam sessions, where the 52 original and 52 new Fiddle Hell common tunes may often show up. The Saturday night concert and contra dance afterwards are legendary! On Friday night, The Whomp! is back, and we've added a Friday night easy contradance with music from The Moving Violations.

Activities: For our workshops, the Westford Regency has many large meeting rooms with comfortable chairs. We also will use several suites and hotel rooms for the smaller sessions. Workshops cover many different styles, and also include hands-on learning about jamming, learning tunes by ear, bowing shuffles, playing backup on fiddle, chop bowing, free improvisation, left hand technique, oldtime fiddling, bluegrass fiddling, oldtime fiddling, Swedish fiddling, contradance fiddling, and fiddling for kids. While the frequent focus ia on fiddle, there are tracks for cello, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and singing, led by excellent players and teachers. We've also set up instructor-led jams in particular styles, like Oldtime Southern, Irish, Scottish, Bluegrass, Klezmer, Jazz, and Western Swing, and at different levels. Slow-speed tune workshops will be helpful when you're just learning some of the tunes. There will be some excellent jamming spots in the wide hallways, and it's fine to jam in the workshop rooms between sessions. We will be inviting selected local players (guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass, and more) to join in the jams. See the Schedule for more details.

Location


Westford, Massachusetts

Visit site

Fiddle Hell 2017 will held for the fourth year at the Westford Regency Inn, 219 Littleton Road, Westford, Massachusetts. There's lots of workshop and jamming space, loads of free parking, nice rooms if you wish to stay there (and a swimming pool!), and good food both onsite and nearby.  Sessions, workshops, the concert and dance, and late night jams will all be under one roof! Click here and scroll down to Lodging and Food for information on booking sleeping rooms with the Fiddle Hell discount code FHELL.

Common Tunes


To help with jams, to give players some common repertoire, and to encourage all to try out new styles, we introduced the "original" set of 52 common tunes in 2010, and added the "new" set of 52 more in 2016. The New 52 were chosen based on your suggestions from the last 4 years of FH surveys. Quite a few of the New 52 will be taught in workshops in November, and will likely show up in jams. Of course, the Original 52 will also show up on occasion. These tunes are all listed Store.

You can order an instructional 2-CD set of the 52 original Fiddle Hell common tunes, played both up-to-speed and slowly by the Reiner Family Band. Volume 1 is only $15 postpaid (within the US) in our online Store.  

In 2017, the Reiner Family Band (and several talented friends) recorded the 52 new common tunes, played fast and slow. Volume 2 is also only $15 postpaid (within the US) in our online Store.

More Information


There are lots of jam sessions at Fiddle Hell, both scheduled and impromptu. Click for jamming guidelines.

If you attended Fiddle Hell 2016, click here to take a quick 10-question survey and help us improve Fiddle Hell! We read every response, and really appreciate your feedback.

Questions: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him at (781)-863-0140, or post to the FH threads on Fiddle Hangout or Fiddle Forum with any questions.

Connections: If you're on Facebook, look for the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts 2017 event to see who's coming, and especially join the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts group.   Follow FiddleHell on Twitter.
Skip Gorman and David Surrette at Fiddle Hell 2016

Sponsors


Fiddle Hell is loosely sponsored online by the Fiddle and Alternative Strings Forum and the Fiddle Hangout. At these websites, you'll find discussions, event listings, and other resources; you can join for free and read about past and future Fiddle Hell meetings.

For many years, Fiddle Hell has been sponsored by CodaBow (maker of great carbon fiber bows) and by D'Addario (maker of responsive, fine-sounding strings). During the 2017 Fiddle Hell weekend, we'll give away many sets of D'Addario Helicore strings (including two sets for cello), a couple of dozen sets of D'Addario EXP74 mandolin strings, and 10 sets each of D'Addario banjo and guitar strings (lights and mediums). Right after Fiddle Hell, there will be a drawing on the CodaBow website for a new Joule bow valued at $625-$750 (fiddle, viola, or cello bow to match your instrument). You'll have until Nov 8th to sign up for the giveaway on the CodaBow website, using a URL we'll give out at Fiddle Hell. Just so you know, CodaBow will ask for your email when you sign up. To one of the musicians who preregisters for the weekend, we'll give away a $100 gift certificate from Johnson Strings / Carriage House Violins that can be used at Fiddle Hell or at their store in Newton, MA.

- Dave Reiner, Andy Eid Reiner, and Eric Eid-Reiner, Fiddle Hell Music Directors

P.S. #1 (from Dave) The Old Groton Inn, which had hosted Fiddle Hell Massachusetts from 2005-2010, burned down on August 2nd, 2011, fortunately with no injuries to guests or staff. The Inn was built around the year 1678. Dark but lively, full of character and history - in many ways that quintessential New England setting was just like the old traditional tunes that we played there.  George (the owner) loved music, cooked with pride, and was always telling me - "We'll take care of you, buddy!"  And Vicki (the manager) worked very hard, against a variety of obstacles, to make every Fiddle Hell as smooth as possible for her guests.  I am very sorry for their personal loss and the historic one as well, and offer my heartfelt thanks for our years of partnership.
P.S. #2 (from Dave) From 2011-2013, Fiddle Hell was hosted at Concord's historic and inviting Colonial Inn.  We greatly appreciate the fine support and warm welcome Fiddle Hell received from the Colonial Inn and its staff through those three years.  We have moved on to a new location since the event has now grown too large for the Colonial Inn, but we wish them well!