PICKENS — As autumn approaches and the leaves turn their brilliant colors, it signals the time for fiddle music in the mountains.
On Sept. 16, vintage fiddle music will fill the hills and hollers around Hagood Mill as it once again hosts the annual South Carolina Old Time Fiddling Championship and some of the best fiddlers in the Southeast gather to compete for the title of South Carolina’s state champion.
This traditional contest goes back to the 1920s when Clemson University opened the doors of stately Tillman Hall to the local musicians of the nearby South Carolina Mountains for their music competition.
There will be cash prizes for competition in the senior and junior “old time fiddle” categories, and senior and junior “open” categories as well as old-time string band, old-time banjo, and guitar categories.
Fiddling styles other than “traditional old time” are welcome and encouraged to compete for cash prizes during the senior and junior “open” competition.
Those at Hagood Mill refer to the “open” category as the “Wildcat Open” because just like the name suggests “Wildcat!” means anything goes as long as it is truly traditional music — singing (ballads, harmony singing, etc.), harmonica, quirky instruments (spoons, hambone, etc.).
While the other categories emphasize “Old Time” music, this category is open to Bluegrass, Swing, Blues, Modern, and Gypsy instrumentation as well.
Contestants can register in person at Hagood Mill or by calling 864-898-2936. Contestants may also register to compete at Hagood Mill on the day of the event before noon. There will be a $10 registration fee for those competing in the Senior “Old Time Fiddle” competition only.
More information about the rules, regulations, and prize money for this competition will be posted on our Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets soon.
The Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site will be open to the public during this event as well.
Admission is free to both the Hagood Mill Site and the Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site but there is a $5 parking fee, which is used to help offset costs at Hagood Mill.
Hagood Mill encourages visitors to bring their favorite old-time instruments and join in the “open jam”, which takes place throughout the day under the ancient cedar beside the 1791 log cabin. The gristmill will be operating and mountain crafts demonstrations will be from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Hagood Mill is located at 138 Hagood Mill Road. Call 864-898-2936, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.visitpickenscounty.com/calendar for more information.