Skip to main content

Early Bird Registration - with discounts & giveaways - is OPEN for Fiddle Hell in person, Nov 7-10, 2024. 
Click HERE to access the replays & handouts if you attended Fiddle Hell Online in April! On phone or tablet, use the Whova app instead.

Thanks to Joni Lohr for wonderful Fiddle Hell photography!

FIddle Hell In-Person, Nov 7-10, 2024, Westford, MA

We're delighted that Fiddle Hell will be back at the Westford Regency in Westford, MA, Nov 7-10, 2024. 

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 330 sessions, with 20 concerts, 35 instructor-led jams, and 300 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.

ARTISTS: We'll have a great staff of about 70 teaching and performing artists, to be announced in August, including Liz Knowles, Pascal Gemme, Katie McNally, Darol Anger, Sharon Gilchrist, Rachel Eddy, and Rev. Robert Jones. The detailed schedule will be published in September, including session descriptions, instruments, levels, and artists.

REGISTRATION: Tickets are available for 4 days, 3 days, 2 days, and single days. Early bird tickets are now on sale 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 concerts and a "head" 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: Fiddle Hell Massachusetts LLC follows current conditions to determine Covid protocols for all participants. We also look at best practices from experts and from other music camps and festivals. In November, 2024, vaccinations, rapid tests, and masking are OPTIONAL. More details are available HERE.

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 $121/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 is open. If the  hotel is sold out, ask to be added to the waiting list - that often works out well. There are other hotels nearby, such as the Hampton Inn & Suites Westford a mile away. And commuting is a good option if you live close enough or stay with a friend - there's lots of free parking at the Westford Regency.

GIVEAWAYS: Fiddle Hell is giving away a "head" violin to an early bird registrant for our November Festival. This fiddle was played for many years by a busker in New Orleans. It's in the style of Gasparo Duiffopruggar. Sign up in July for 3 chances to win this fiddle; 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 one of 3 live performances in Groton, MA, by BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, the Jacob Jolliff band, and Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas. 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 6 online FH festivals and the last 2 in-person festivala, 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. There will be 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 3-6, 2025.

On behalf of Fiddle Hell and my family, we hope you are doing ok, staying healthy, and coping with the challenges of everyday life. We've had a great time jamming, learning, and having fun with you in the last few years, both in-person and online. It's been a time for friendship and reconnection, and for awesome learning and listening. We'll see you in November!

Dave Reiner

Details and Giveaways for Nov 7-10, 2024

Click the links on the left or use the menus suggested

TEACHING ARTISTS - or click on menu Artists (available in July)
- or click on menu Schedule (available in September) 

REGISTER  - or click on menu Register = the orange button (early bird registration is now 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 15th.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - or click on menu Info and choose Q&A about FH (includes COVID precautions)
GIVEAWAYS - We'll have an amazing "head" fiddle and more to give away to early bird registrants.
POLICIES - or click on menu Policies to see our Privacy and Fulfillment Policies, and Agreements for Attendees, Teens & Kids
JOIN FH EMAIL LIST - or click on menu Info/Mailing List Signup

Please visit the Fiddle Hell Facebook group, Facebook page, Instagram channel, YouTube channel (with jam videos & artist previews), and Twitter account by clicking on the links, or on the icons on the top or bottom of this page.

There's lots of other helpful info under menu Info.

Early bird giveaways
Fiddle Hell is giving away a "head" violin to an early bird registrant for our November Festival in 2024. 
This fiddle was played for many years by a busker in New Orleans. It's in the style of Gasparo Duiffopruggar, and is responsive and easy to play, with a clear and even tone across the strings. Carbon fiber bow and fitted case are included, for a value of about $1500.

3 4 Head FH head fiddle 11 24 min  Back Scroll FH head fiddle 11 24 min 

Top Body FH head fiddle 11 24 min  Back Body FH head fiddle 11 24 min  

Sign up in July for 3 chances to win this fiddle; in August for 2 chances; in September for 1 chance. We'll give away the fiddle to the lucky winner at the Saturday Night Concert, Nov 9, 2024 (you don't have to be at the concert to win).

Early birds will also be entered with those same chances to win two front-row seats at one of three different concerts at the Groton Hill Music Center, Groton, MA.
Sept 27th: BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet
Oct 4th: The Jacob Jolliff Band
Oct 19th: Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas

Other monthly early bird giveaways, matched to your musical interests, are books, CDs, strings, Fiddler magazines, and online lessons.

Welcome Statement

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 2020-2024 and continuing in the future that provide opportunities to learn about the contributions and roles of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) 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.

Fiddle Hell History

For 20 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 six Fiddle Hell Onlines, with a seventh planned for April 3-6, 2025. Typically, there are about 10% beginners, 30% low intermediates, 35% high intermediates, and 25% 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 teaching artists, 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 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, followed by the 6th FHO in Aprll, 2024.

We re-started Fiddle Hell in-person in November, 2022, in Westford, MA, and enjoyed it again in November, 2023. Each time, more than 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. And it's returning November 7-10, 2024!

Our plan is to hold FH online every April, and in person every November. Mark your calendar:
Fiddle Hell In-Person, Westford, MA, Nov 7-10, 2024
Fiddle Hell Online, April 3-6, 2025

Voodoo Fiddlehead

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 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. Volume 1 is also available for download at here.

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.

More Information

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 in-person 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, Groton Hill Music Center, 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, The Music Emporium, Blue Ridge Fiddle Camp, the David Surette Mandolin Festival, New Directions Cello Festival, and Rustic Roots Camp on cross-promotion and best practices for online teaching. 

Thanks to Jenna Moynihan, frequent Fiddle Hell teaching artist, for the photo!

Jenna Moynihan, Scottish fiddler and FH instructor