We're delighted that Fiddle Hell is back at the Westford Regency in Westford, MA, Nov 2-5, 2023.
Here are some helpful things to know for attendees at Fiddle Hell.
IN-PERSON: Fiddle Hell will be an entirely in-person festival in November. Meet up and jam with your old friends and make new ones! Sessions will not be recorded for replays online.
SESSIONS: We'll have about 380 sessions, with 20 concerts, 35 instructor-led jams, and 325 workshops! And there will be lots of informal jam spots as always. While all acoustic instruments are welcome, the main tracks are for fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, cello, and singing, at 4 different levels. Have fun with your fellow musicians as you absorb techniques, styles, tunes, and history, from an amazing set of instructors.
INSTRUCTORS: We'll have a great staff of about 80 instructors and performers (see below). The detailed schedule will be published in mid-September, including session descriptions, instruments, levels, and instructors.
REGISTRATION: Tickets will be available for 4 days, 3 days, 2 days, and single days. Early bird tickets are on sale now on our Registration Page. There are discounts for early birds, senior and junior players, current members of ASTA (American String Teachers Association), and non-playing parents or guardians. Early bird discounts can be combined with other discounts, and early birds will be entered in several giveaways (including a historic fiddle). Tickets will likely be available at the FH event itself. However, we suggest signing up early since the total number of tickets for each day will be limited.
COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS: FH follows current conditions to determine FH COVID protocols so our event can take place in a safe and comfortable way for all participants. We also look at best practices from experts and from other music camps and festivals. In November, 2023, we require prior Covid vaccination and a negative rapid Covid test on the first day for all attendees, instructors, and FH staff. Masks are optional but welcome. More details on the Registration Page.
ROOM RESERVATIONS: Hotel room reservations at the Westford Regency will be available only to registered attendees, on a first-come, first-served basis. Rates are $108/night/room, plus taxes. If you wish to book a room, please call the Westford Regency Inn at (978) 692-8200 AFTER you have bought your FH ticket and have received your FH code for the hotel in your confirmation email. FH registration will open at noon ET on July 3. If the hotel is sold out, ask to be added to the waiting list - that often works out well. Sister hotel Boxboro Regency is 15 minutes away and will match the FH room rate through September 15. There are other hotels nearby, but they don't match the FH room rate. Commuting is an option if you live close enough.
GIVEAWAYS: Fiddle Hell is giving away a 100-year-old violin crafted by F. Hell (Franz Hell, Norwegian maker) to an early bird registrant for our November Festival. Sign up in July for 3 chances to win this vintage violin; in August for 2 chances; in September for 1 chance. Other early bird giveaways are books, CDs, strings, Fiddler magazines, online lessons, and 2 front-row seats to a Hawktail/Väsen performance in Groton, MA on Oct 27. Why wait?
LOGISTICS: We'll use Whova software (optional on your smartphone, tablet, or computer) for the detailed agenda, to provide handouts, and to add an exciting channel of connection within our FH community. Whova will be available starting Sept 15. Whova was very helpful at the last 5 online FH festivals and the last in-person festival, and participants really liked it. We’ll also have printed grids, but not extensive program booklets. Food and drinks will be available at the hotel and nearby. We have now added a dinner break from 6-7:30PM on Th, Fr, and Sat. The hotel has free parking and a large parking lot.
NEXT ONLINE FH: The next ONLINE Fiddle Hell will be April 11-14, 2024.
On behalf of Fiddle Hell and my family, we hope you are doing ok, staying healthy, and coping with the changes to everyday life. We had a great time jamming, learning, and having fun with you in in 2022 and early 2023, both in-person and online. April! It's been a time for friendship and reconnection, and for awesome learning and listening. We'll see you in November!
Details: Nov 2-5, 2023
Click the links on the left or use the menus suggested
SCHEDULE - or click on menu Schedule (available in September)
INSTRUCTORS & PERFORMERS & their SESSIONS - or click on menu Instructors
REGISTER or DONATE - or click on menu Register = the orange button (early bird registration is open)
HOW TO - or click on menu Info and choose How To at FH (under construction)
T-SHIRTS - You'll be able to pre-order t-shirts and pick them up at Fiddle Hell. There will also be some styles and sizes for sale at Fiddle Hell. Details coming later.
VIRTUAL EXHIBITORS - More details in Whova for attendees, starting August 4.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - or click on menu Info and choose Q&A about FH (includes early bird violin giveaway and also COVID precautions)
GIVEAWAYS - We'll have an amazing F. Hell fiddle and more to give away to early bird registrants.
Please visit the Fiddle Hell Facebook group, Facebook page, Instagram channel, YouTube channel (with jam videos & instructor previews), and Twitter account by clicking on the links, or on the icons on the top or bottom of this page.
Fiddle Hell strives to be an actively inclusive and welcoming place for people of all racial groups, ethnicities, abilities, gender identities and/or expressions, sexual orientations, incomes, religions, and other identities. We value and embrace all forms of diversity among our staff and participants. In August 2020, we identified a number of areas where Fiddle Hell could improve with respect to racial justice, and we took taking steps to put these ideas into action. We were excited to offer workshops (in 2020 and 2021, and continuing in April and November 2022 and beyond) that provide opportunities to learn about the contributions and roles of people of color in the origins and evolution of the instruments, tunes, and styles we play. Please click here to read about these steps in our full Statement about Fiddle Hell and Racial Justice.
For 18 years, the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Festival has been a yearly gathering of fiddlers, cellists, mandolin/guitar/banjo players, and singers to meet, jam, learn, listen, and have fun. It's both friendly and diverse, crossing all ages and including many traditional musical styles. To keep ourselves safe during the pandemic, we re-imagined Fiddle Hell as an online festival and music camp. We have enjoyed five Fiddle Hell Onlines, with a sixth planned for April 11-14, 2024. Typically, there are about 8% beginners, 25% low intermediates, 37% high intermediates, and 30% advanced players, with many workshop and jam session choices at each level.
The invention of the late, great fiddler Dale Hopkins from Missouri, "Fiddle Hell" events have occurred in fun locations worldwide. Prior Fiddle Hells have been held 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 the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Festival more of a hands-on festival for all ages, with hundreds of scheduled workshops and jam sessions led by a wonderful group of experienced and supportive instructors, as well as many amazing concerts. The Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Festival and Fiddle Hell Online are now run by the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts LLC.
In 2019, we had 800+ musicians as attendees at the fifteenth Fiddle Hell Massachusetts, held at the Westford Regency Inn & Conference Center in Westford, MA. Participants came from as far away as Scotland, Germany, Canada, California, Alabama, Michigan, Texas and Florida, and from as near as Westford, MA, itself. They played and learned in many styles - New England, Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, Southern Old-TIme, Bluegrass, French Canadian, Jazz, Swing, Scandinavian, Klezmer, Blues, Electric, World, and more. Many tunes were taught, along with the stylistic details of the different traditions. In-depth workshops on techniques covered jamming, learning by ear, backing up singers, music theory, bowing patterns, improvisation, looping, and much more. Informal hallway jams in 9 "jam spots" were active through most of the day and night. For attendees, instructors, and staff, 2019 was a Fiddle Hell to remember!
In November, 2020, we held our first Fiddle Hell Online, with over 800 attendees. Without physical space limitations, we increased the number of concerts to 35, along with 35 jams and 170 workshops. While there were no hallway jams or in-person hugs with musical friends, attendees really appreciated "front-row" seats for all sessions, and the ability to replay all sessions (and even slow them down) for the next 4 months. We were excited to offer many more workshops that provided opportunities to learn about the contributions and roles of people of color in the origins and evolution of the instruments, tunes, and styles we play. In April, 2021, we held our second Fiddle Hell Online, with even more workshops and over 900 attendees. In November, 2021, the third FHO had over 800 attendees. In April, 2022, the fourth FHO was held, with lots of new instructors and sessions. In April, 2023, the fifth FHO was held and was fun for all.
We held Fiddle Hell in-person in November, 2022, in Westford, MA. 500 happy musicans gathered for concerts, workshops, and jams (guided and informal). Many tunes flew by, and it was great to be together in person after 3 years.
Our plan is to hold FH online every April, and in person every November. Mark your calendar:
Fiddle Hell In-Person, November 2-5, 2023
Fiddle Hell Online, April 11-14, 2024
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 tunes in 2016. The New 52 were chosen based on your suggestions from the prior 4 years of FH surveys. Some of these 104 common tunes will be taught in workshops in November, and will likely show up in jams. These tunes are all listed here. We just call them the "Common Tune List" or "CTL" these days, without distinguishing which of the two lists tunes come from.
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 a 2-CD set of the 52 new common tunes, played fast and slow. Volume 2 is also only $15 postpaid (within the US) in our online Store.
Fiddle Hell Online and the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Festival are run by the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts LLC. Our events are 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.
Our long-time sponsors, D'Addario and CodaBow, have resumed giveaways at the various Fiddle Hells. You can read more about other sponsors in the Virtual Exhibits once you're registered.
We're working closely with Maine Fiddle Camp, Ashokan Camps, Northeast Heritage Music Camp, Creative Strings Workshop, Strings Without Boundaries, Music Camps North, New England Folk Festival (NEFFA), Fiddleheads, Janie's Jumpstart Camps, Acadia Trad Camp, Boston States Fiddle Camp, Baltimore Old-Time Jam, Camp Calvin, Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RCSDS), Alasdair Fraser's Camps, Groton Hill Music Center, and Rustic Roots Camp on cross-promotion and best practices for online teaching.
Thanks to Jenna Moynihan, Fiddle Hell Instructor, for the photo!