Second annual SC Fiddling Championship scheduled for Saturday at Hagood Mill

Marion Boatwright and Crooked Pin

PICKENS — The second annual South Carolina State Fiddling Championship is scheduled for this Saturday at Pickens County’s 17th annual Ole Time Fiddlin’ Convention at Hagood Mill.

For hundreds of years the South has enjoyed a rich traditional musical heritage and the upcountry counties of South Carolina have been no less than a hot bed of these traditions. The Scots Irish and other immigrants that established homesteads brought with them their fiddles and a heritage of music. These are the folks that populated the southern-most tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

One of the last of the official old time fiddling competitions in the upstate was held in 1924 at Tillman Hall on the campus of Clemson College (University) as mountain men and women gathered to compete with their treasured fiddles and other instruments. For the last sixteen years, Pickens County has celebrated this music with their annual Ole Time Fiddlin’ Convention, a throwback to a very upcountry tradition of the last hundred years. Yes, three miles north of Pickens, one crosses the tributaries of the Twelve Mile River and at the Hagood Mill Historic Site and Folklife Center enters the homeland of the South Carolina dark corner mountain people, their rollicking fiddle music, and a rich history of traditional culture and arts.

Come join the friends of the Hagood Mill Historic Site and Folklife Center and the Pickens County Museum on Saturday, as “Music in the Mountains 2013” kicks off its fall season with the fiddlin’ convention on the outdoor stage at Hagood Mill.

Musicians and guests are invited to arrive as early as Friday afternoon and set up overnight camping spots at out primitive camping area. The Saturday competition will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Awards and cash prizes, sponsored by the Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and Blue Ridge Security, will be given to the top three performers in each of the following categories: String Band, Banjo, Guitar, “Wildcat” Open (anything musical), Junior Fiddle, Junior Open (both Jr. divisions are 16 and under) and Fiddle.

The winner of the Fiddle Competition will be designated the 2013 South Carolina State Fiddling Champion. Competition entry is free. For Stringband and Fiddle, organizers do request pre-registration, but contestants in all other categories should register for competitions by one hour before contest time. Early registration and a complete set of competition rules are available by calling the Pickens County Museum at (864) 898-5963 or by email at

Last year’s South Carolina State Fiddling Champion, Robert Burns, will also perform at the event. His will certainly be an exceptional show as he prepares to pass the crown on to the 2013 Champion.

Entry for this full day of music, tradition and a mighty good time is only $5 parking fee per car.

The Pickens County Cultural Commission, as always, invites you to a special day of milling, music and memories. Plan on coming out for the whole show. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy a day of rip-roaring, foot-stomping music by some of the region›s best old time musicians! One and all are also invited to bring their instruments and add to the entertainment with the open jams on site throughout the day.

 The water-powered 1845 gristmill, one of the finest examples of nineteenth century technology in the Upstate, operates just as it has for the last century-and-a-half and will be running throughout the day. In the old mill, fresh stone-ground corn meal, grits and wheat flour will be available, as well as Hagood Mill cookbooks and a variety of other mill related items.

The Hagood Mill hosts a variety of folklife and traditional arts demonstrations each month, including blacksmithing, bowl-digging, flintknapping, chair-caning, moonshining, broom-making, quilting, spinning, knitting, weaving, woodcarving, open-hearth cooking, metal-smithing, pioneer toys and games and more.

For additional information or to request competition rules, please contact the Pickens County Museum at (864) 898-5963 or the Hagood Mill at (864) 898-2936 or by email at