The Appalachian String Band Music Festival at Camp Washington-Carver in Fayette County at Clifftop, W.Va., turns 25 this year. The popular family-friendly event, presented by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, includes music, dancing, workshops, contests, family activities and plenty of time to visit with friends from around the world. This year, it will be held July 30 through Aug. 3.
Tyler Andal, who won the 2013 Robert C. Byrd award for traditional fiddle playing at the Grand Master Fiddle Championship in Nashville, Tenn., will be a featured performer. On Friday, Aug. 1, Andal will teach an afternoon workshop for youth, ages 8 to 16. Later that day, he will perform in concert. Andal won both the Tennessee and Alabama state banjo contests as well as the National Claw Hammer Grand Master Banjo Championship.
Andal joins grand masters Frank George of Walton, W.Va., and John Harrod of Owenton, Ky., who will be featured in showcase performances at the festival.
More than 30 arts, craft and music vendors will be on site along with food vendors and the Fayette County Farmers Market, which will offer fresh produce throughout the festival.
Contests include fiddle and banjo on Thursday, July 31, neo-traditional band on Friday, Aug. 1, and traditional band and flatfoot dance on Saturday, Aug. 2. Senior (60 and over) and youth (15 and under) categories are available in the fiddle and banjo contests. There is a youth award available in both the band contests for groups with all members 18 years old or younger. The flatfoot dance contest makes awards in four age categories.
Nightly square dances and a Friday and Saturday evening concert are popular attractions.
Daily admission is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors (age 60 and over) and youth (age 6 – 17). Children aged 5 and under may attend for free. Rough camping for the five-day festival is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $45 for adults, $40 for seniors and youth, $90 per family (two adults and any number of children under the age of 18), and $80 per senior family (two adults 60 years old or more and any number of children under the age of 18). Early camping starts July 25 at 1 p.m. The rough-camping rate and daily admission fee includes admission to all activities.
The festival schedule, camp rules and regulations, contest rules and craft and food vendors, are available at www.wvculture.org. For more information, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner for the division, at (304) 558-0220.
A beautiful retreat listed in the National Register of Historic Places and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Camp Washington-Carver serves as the state’s mountain cultural arts center. The facility nurtures the cultural heritage embodied in the site since its dedication in 1942 as a 4-H and agricultural extension camp for West Virginia’s African Americans. The camp is located in Fayette County next to Babcock State Park, just off Route 60 (Midland Trail) on Route 41 South.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.