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How Not to Act at Arts, Crafts and Music Festivals

Updated on August 11, 2014

Amish singers perform at an arts, crafts and music festival

Sam McCracken, fiddling in an early Old Time Fiddlers Convention, Athens, Al.

Learning about arts, crafts, and music festivals

Are you familiar with an arts, crafts, and music festivals? Well, in case you have never experienced such an event, this is just a sample of what you can expect: Gorgeous homemade crafts; friendly people from all over the world; delicious homemade food made by vendors; music of all strata’s and loads of good, unpretentious people who will, with a handshake, be your friend.

One of such festivals jumps to mind with light speed: The Annual Old Time Fiddlers Convention held each first weekend in October of every year. I can say with a serious heart that I was blessed to take my dad, quite the fiddler I proudly add, to attend five of these festivals held at Athens State College in Athens, Al., where on one cold Saturday, my dad, the late Austin Avery, Hamilton, got to fulfill a lifetime of dreaming to play in front of a big audience.

" . . . Keep

reading. This

only gets better . . ."

Arts and crafts festivals provide a huge variety of hand-made crafts

Hungry Mother's Arts and Crafts Festival

Most everyone has a great time at an arts, crafts and music festival

My dad's dream was realized

And there was a big audience that wintry Saturday morning, but my dad, always the trooper, bore the winds as sharp as a butcher’s knife and played two selections: “I Don’t Love Nobody,” and “The Anniversary Waltz,” as per the rules of the convention. He never missed a lick. The audience lovingly-accepted his efforts that brought a few tears of remorse in my eyes—caused from me not making a more-dedicated-effort much-earlier to help my dad’s dream come true.

Let’s enjoy (together) a few facts about arts, crafts, and music festivals:

  • Events such as this are lots of fun for people of all ages.
  • This type of gathering has been around since the early 60’s.
  • There is more money made from a festival such as this than the average night club.
  • These are considered one of the safest gatherings of all festivals and celebrations.

Old Crow Medicine Show are always a part of the arts, crafts, and music festival scene

When The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention Began

The first annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention on Saturday, November 4, 1967 in the big Athens College Gym. The weekend saw torrential rain and when Saturday night arrived the temperature had plummeted to 24 degrees. While the bad weather had an adverse effect on attendance, the event was a modest success and netted $52. Contestants and spectators came from four states. Bill Mitchell, then sheriff of Lee County Mississippi (Tupelo), was crowned the first Tennessee Valley Fiddle King and E.A. Cope of Birmingham was the runner-up. Media coverage was encouraging. Radio station WVNA, a CBS affiliate from Tuscumbia, Alabama was on the scene and Jack Voorhies, program director of the station, recorded a portion of the convention, which included an introduction, music and interviews with contestants. Voorhies sent the tape to the CBS network headquarters in New York and the network aired it on their "Weekend Dimension" show and the following week it was broadcast again on the "Mike Wallace At Large" show. The annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention was off and running.

A handy list of tips

But as in all good and positive events, even The Annual Old Time Fiddlers Convention Arts and Crafts Festival, there are those who love to mix a rowdy good time with true conservatives and the outcome is not good. In celebrations such as The Annual Old Time Fiddlers Convention and other conservative meetings, one must keep in mind that these festivals are as far from a Woodstock as Howard Stern is from a Catholic priest. It’s just that plain.

So in the event that you are invited by a group of friends (reading this) who are familiar with festivals such as The Old Time Fiddlers Convention, and you get a chance to attend, here is a good list of things to remember called:

“How Not to Act at Outdoor Arts, Crafts, and Music Festivals”

  • Running nude through the massive crowds of a mixture of Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans and all faiths and yelling, “Kneel before me! I am the anti-Christ!” will get you beaten-up first by these law-abiding people and then the police will put you in jail.
  • Getting wasted in your camper or RV, then trying to sing Bluegrass songs with other lovers of alcohol will get you sent packing in a matter of minutes.
  • Acting homeless and begging money from the paying people is grounds for you being arrested and banned for life from the festival you are using for personal gain.
  • Fighting of any type, sort or style is strictly-forbidden. The people who attend these festivals are peace-loving people and not into fist-fights like drunken sailors on liberty.
  • Running (under the influence of Crank, Crystal Meth or LSD) onto the stage while musicians are performing and doing your impression of a wild mountain goat in Tibet is just asking the police, who by the way, are always on hand, to “Please arrest me. I need some jail-time to get some professional help.”
  • Stage-diving is not only stupid, but a crowd at one of these all-American festivals will not catch you.
  • Trying to get the promoters to feature your band, “Filthy Blood Vulture,” will not end well.
  • Hitting on every woman you see will lead to you getting your butt whipped by their boyfriends or husbands, then arrested.
  • Getting yourself caught trying to break into the huge RV’s and campers parked in designated-areas is the same as breaking and entering a private entrance and you will be arrested and sent before a judge.
  • Throwing objects at performers on stage counts as assault, so friend, if you are into fighting, drinking alcohol, taking illegal drugs, and the sort that accompanies a more-liberal crowd . . .do not attend The Annual Old Time Fiddlers Convention or any convention or festival of this nature.

Note: A dear friend and follower, shanmarie, wanted me to post the comments I mentioned, but never revealed in my “Homemade Dentistry” hub where my dentist put me under so much anesthesia that, according to my wife, I did not know what I was saying, here are a few of the things I said . . .

  1. “Bonnie, your husband is surely a lucky guy!” Bonnie Godsey is my dentist, Dr. Patrick Boyett’s head nurse and a friend. Thank God.

  2. “Ohhh, man! Am I having a great time in Destin!”

  3. “This stuff . . .feeeelllls . . .sooooo . . .gooodooood!”

Coming in sight . . .”Thing to Not Tell In Confidence to The Town Gossip”

Other hubs you might enjoy:

“10 Things I Like About Billy, The Kid”

“Manly Things I Failed at Trying to Impress The Pretty Girls”

“Comparing Modern Dentistry to ‘Homemade Dentistry”

These customers shop the dulcimers for a bargain


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, aviannovice,

      Yes, the event IS fun, but not the things in this hub I list NOT to do. LOL. And how ironic. You wanting to learn how to fiddle that song while I would love to pick "Alice's Restaurant," on guitar.

      One day we both will.

      Come back to see me anytime.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This sure sounds like a fun time. One thing that I always wanted to learn how to do was fiddle. If I could ever play "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," I would be in ecstasy.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, ChitrangadaSharan,

      Thank you kindly, my good friend, for your warm comments. I appreciate you so much. Thanks too, for the votes.

      Thank you for stopping by, and stop by anytime.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      An enjoyable and entertaining read!

      I love to visit Art and Music festivals. Your suggestions about how not to act at such festivals are quite relevant.

      Thanks and voted up!

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Homeplace!

      Thank you kindly for the humble remarks. I want you to know that you are very-appreciated by yours truly.

      I do my best to keep my focus, but when a few thousand thoughts per minute are vying to take over, it is rough.

      Thanks again. Come back soon.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      You are entertaining, for sure. Do wonder where your mind is, sometimes, but understand enough... to keep reading. Thanks for sharing!! ;-)

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear sheilamyers . . .thank you kindly, dear friend, for reading and leaving me such a warm comment.

      Last year, my wife and I wanted to go, but as I recall, it was either a money or other things came up type of issue, but the fiddler's convention I wrote of is the first weekend in October every year.

      It begins Friday afternoon and goes until 12 midnight. Then starts up Saturday around 10 a.m. and goes until midnight and everywhere you look is either a band rehearsing or vendors selling things like food, arts and crafts and it is a great day.

      Athens State College has made no telling how much money off of this one event.

      And by the ticket prices, I quit wondering how a college could profit from a fiddler's convention,

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      As always, I enjoy the way you blend the historical and current facts about the topic with a handful of humor. I enjoy crafts and music festivals, but don't to them very often. The Old Time Fiddlers Convention sounds like a great one.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thanks for the link. I appreciate you leaving it with me.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you kindly for your great comment. Actually, the first of this piece is a true story about my dad and the Tenn. Old Time Fiddlers Convention.

      It hurt me all over again to write that.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      As always delightfully entertaining and great advice.


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