The 21st annual Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival and Acoustic Band Contest has been set for Saturday, May 25, 2019. With free fiddle and harmonica workshops in the morning, a luthier on-site, jam sessions erupting throughout the day, and over $3,000 in award monies, it is sure to be an event you will want to get on your calendar. The Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival and Acoustic Band Contest is the place to be for musicians and music enthusiasts of all ages. The event will be free of charge and held at the Homestead Education Center.
The competition is geared towards all ability levels and the day begins with Deborah Greenblatt teaching a free workshop in the morning. She was the first woman to win the Nebraska State Fiddling Championship, the first woman to win the Mid-America Fiddle Championship, and is a member of the Mid-America Old-Time Fiddler’s Hall of Fame.
Greenblatt finds the atmosphere at the Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival and Acoustic Band Contest to be inviting and nurturing for all levels of musicians. It is a day for fiddlers of all ages and experience levels to come together much like they did when the first pioneers arrived in the 1800s and began settling the prairie. The sounds of fiddlers could often be heard at community gatherings signaling good health and prosperity.
Following the 10 a.m. morning workshops there will be a break for lunch, which will be available for purchase onsite. The competition will start at noon. The one rule which makes this competition unique is that all songs must have been in existence by 1936 when Homestead National Monument of America was established.
The day ends with the announcement of winners. Trophies are given to the top three finishers in the Junior, Senior, Legends, and Acoustic Band divisions. Since the start of the Festival, the Coffin Family Foundation has provided funding for the cash prizes. Leigh F. Coffin started the foundation to help support youth education. His son, Leigh M., said “the Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival and Acoustic Band Contest fits into his father’s vision for the community.” Additional support for this event is provided by Humanities Nebraska, Friends of Homestead and Homestead Bookstores operated by Eastern National.