The Ashe County Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention Returns!

Join us at the Ashe Park on July 22 – 23 for the annual Fiddlers Convention. Focused on honoring the Old Time and Bluegrass music of the mountains – and the musicians who make it. The Convention will be held at Ashe County Park in Jefferson offering camping, food cooked on site, and individual and band competitions – featuring great music and cash prizes!



Bluegrass Jam Camp taught by Leslie Dare & Susan West Using the Wernick Method*

July 22-24, 2022 at the Fiddlers Convention
Friday 1-5pm; Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 9am-noon

Tuition: $195
Includes admission to convention and Saturday lunch. $10 off through July 1; $10 discount for family members; discounts may be combined.
All bluegrass instruments welcome | No jamming experience necessary | You will be jamming the first class! | Friendly, encouraging, knowledgeable teaching. | Mistakes allowed! | Singing not required, but encouraged and taught. | Easy 2- and 3-chord songs, slow speeds.
Do you qualify? It’s easier than you may think! If you play guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass, or dobro… you can be part of a bluegrass jam.
Leslie Dare & Susan West have found great synergy in working together to teach others the essentials of bluegrass jamming. Both grew up with music but after being musically inactive for many years, both joined the bluegrass community through their experiences at camps run by Pete and Joan Wernick, re-discovering the joys of music later in life. Leslie plays guitar and Susan plays mandolin, bass, and guitar. They are both active in the Raleigh, NC-area jamming scene, including regular participation with the Raleigh chapter of the Handsome Ladies.

Information Links for Competitors


Thursday, July 21

  5:00 – 8:00 PM Campground opens


Friday, July 22

1:00-5:00 PM Bluegrass Jamming Camp with Wayward Strings.Teaching the Wernick Method (registration required)

 5:00 PM- Gates Open – Ticketing   

 5:30 PM Concert at the Blevins Shelter

5:30 PM – JAM Band

6:00 PM – Nobody’s Business with Trevor McKenzie, Stu Geisbert, Corbin Hayslett, Hanna Traynham and Jackson Cunningham

7:15 PM– High Country Ramblers with Brandon Hardin and Friends  

Saturday, July 23

9:00 AM – Gates Open – Ticketing

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Bluegrass Jamming Camp with Wayward Strings. Teaching the Wernick Method (registration required)

9:30 AM – 11:30 AM – Youth Registration

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Youth Competition 

12:00 – 12:30 PM                   Break         

12:30 – 4:00 PM – Adult Individual Registration  

1:00 – 4:30 PM – Adult Individual Competition

4:30 – 5:00 PM                     Break

 5:30 – 6:30 PM – Dance Registration

6:00 – 7:00 PM – Dance Competition

7:00 PM – Youth Awards Presentation

7:00 – 9:00 PM – Band Registration

7:30 PM – Until – Band Competition

TBA – Adult, Dance, Band Award Presentation                                 

Sunday, July 24

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Bluegrass Jamming Camp with Wayward Strings.  Teaching the Wernick Method (registration required) 

About the Judges

Steve Kilby’s specialty is flatpicking guitar on traditional fiddle tunes such as Black Mountain Rag, Alabama Jubilee, Sweet Georgia Brown, and about 2000 fiddle tunes. James Stephen Kilby was born in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, into a musical family. His grandfather, Cranor Kilby, was a fine oldtime fiddler and banjoist, and his father, Clifford (Curly) Kilby, was a guitarist and tenor singer who played with the Carolina Playboys and L.W. Lambert and the Carolina Neighbors. Clifford Kilby died at the age of twenty-five when Steve was very young. Steve began playing the guitar at age twelve and was  Steve played guitar with the Green Valley Boys and  banjo with Hoyt Herbert and the Strings of Five. In the early 1980s, Steve played with Blue Ridge Grass, the Sullivan Brothers and the Clarence Greene-John Hartley Band. 

Steve has won many awards for his guitar playing, including the North Carolina state championship at Cool Springs School and first place at the 1970 and 1980 Galax Old Fiddlers’ Conventions. He was also the “best all-around performer” at Galax. In recent years Steve has taught guitar and banjo in several regional JAM programs.  This year he returned to John C Campbell Folk School to teach old-time traditional music.

Learning from a young age Jackson Cunningham has played traditional music most of his life and has played and recorded with many traditional bluegrass and old time bands over the years, He currently plays guitar and sings in the SW Virginia based band “Nobody’s Business”.

He has toured nationally with The NCTA on The Crooked Road’s Mountain Music Tour, performed at The National Folk Festivals in Butte, MT, Greensboro, NC, Lowell, MA, Richmond, VA, and many Virginia Foundation for the Humanities events.

Jackson has also toured extensively internationally, performing and participating in workshops in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

Jackson is a accomplished traditional instrument maker, learning his craft from many local luthiers, he builds vintage style guitars and custom fiddles and banjos for customers all around the world.

Kilby Spencer is an award winning fiddle player in both old-time and bluegrass styles as well as a sought after guitar player.  He has been playing old-time music for most of his life, learning from his parents, Thornton and Emily Spencer, members of the Whitetop Mountain Band. Kilby has also collected and digitized rare local recordings for many years and servers of the Field Recorder’s Collective, whose mission is to preserve and release rare field and home recordings. Kilby also formed his own award winning band over fifteen years ago, The Crooked Road Ramblers, who have played many prestigious venues such as The National Folk Festival, The Richmond Folk Festival, and Floydfest.

About the Emcee

Dale Morris has had a long running history with old time and bluegrass music. He grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and started playing music in 1974. After many years playing and then judging contests, Dale was asked to serve as an emcee at fiddlers’ conventions and bluegrass festivals. He emcees at most of the annual conventions held in SW Virginia and NW North Carolina nowadays, and he has been the master of ceremonies at the Ashe County Fiddlers since 2014.