Fiddle Hell will be in-person, Nov 3-6, in Westford, MA. Yay! 4-day and 2-day (Th/Fr or Sa/Su) tickets are now on sale at on our Registration Page. Total tickets are limited, with no walk-ins at the FH event itself. Proof of COVID vaccination and booster are required, and a rapid COVID test before your first day at FH. Masks are required in 23 out of 410 sessions (including singing sessions and the Saturday Night Concert).
If you wish to book a room, please call the Westford Regency Inn AFTER you have bought your FH ticket and have received your FH code for the hotel in your confirmation email. Once the Westford Regency rooms are sold out, the hotel will maintain a waiting list. However, the sister hotel Boxboro Regency is 15 minutes away and will match the FH room rate of $108+tax per room per night (other nearby hotels will not matchthe rate). Or just commute if you live close enough.
Thanks to Joni Lohr for all our wonderful Fiddle Hell photography!
We're delighted that Fiddle Hell will happen at the Westford Regency in Westford, MA, Nov 3-6, 2022. While the last 4 online Fiddle Hells have been wonderful, it'll be great to be IN PERSON once again as we've been for 17 years!
Here are some helpful things to know for attendees at Fiddle Hell. These are subject to change by the FH organizers at their discretion.
IN-PERSON: Fiddle Hell will be an entirely in-person festival in November. Meet up and jam with your old friends and make new ones! Sessions will not be recorded for replays online.
SESSIONS: We'll have about 410 sessions, with 20 concerts, 32 instructor-led jams, and 360 workshops! And there will be lots of informal jam spots as always. While all acoustic instruments are welcome, the main tracks are for fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, cello, and singing, at 4 different levels. Have fun with your fellow musicians as you absorb techniques, styles, tunes, and history, from an amazing set of instructors.
INSTRUCTORS: We have a great staff of about 75 instructors and performers. The detailed schedule will be published September 2nd, including session descriptions, instruments, levels, and instructors.
REGISTRATION: Tickets will cover all 4 days (Th-Fr-Sa-Su) or 2 days (Th-Fr or Sa-Su). Tickets are on sale now on our Registration Page. There are discounts for senior and junior players, and for current members of ASTA (American String Teachers Association). Total tickets are limited, with no walk-in admissions at the FH event itself.
COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS: FH has followed current conditions to determine FH COVID protocols so our event can take place in a safe and comfortable way for all participants. We have also looked at best practices from other music camps and festivals. More details in our Q&A here; essentials below:
(1) We are setting ticket limits and requiring pre-registration so there will be fewer people at FH than in the past.
(2) For all FH attendees, instructors, and staff, we'll require proof at check-in time of current COVID-19 vaccination and at least one booster (if eligible).
(3) On the morning of your first day of FH we require all attendees, instructors, and staff to perform a rapid (15-minute) COVID test and to have a clear negative result, before arriving at FH Registration.
(4) Masks are welcome and encouraged. However, they are not required, with the exception of attendees of singing sessions and the Saturday Night Concert (which is 23 sessions out of 410).
(5) All FH attendees, instructors, and staff are required to sign an attendee agreement that protects you and others.
ROOM RESERVATIONS: Hotel room reservations at the Westford Regency will be available only to registered attendees, on a first-come, first-served basis. Rates are $108/night/room, plus taxes. If you wish to book a room, please call the Westford Regency Inn AFTER you have bought your FH ticket and have received your FH code for the hotel in your confirmation email. Once the Westford Regency rooms are sold out, the hotel will maintain a waiting list. Sister hotel Boxboro Regency is 15 minutes away and will match the FH room rate. There are other hotels nearby, but they are not matching the FH room rate. Or just commute if you live close enough.
LOGISTICS: We'll use Whova software (optional on your smartphone, tablet, or computer) for the detailed agenda, to provide handouts, and to add an exciting channel of connection within our FH community. Whova was very helpful at the last 4 online FH festivals and participants really liked it. We’ll also have printed grids, but not extensive program booklets. Food and drinks will be available at the hotel and nearby. The hotel has free parking and a large parking lot.
NEXT ONLINE FH: The next ONLINE Fiddle Hell will be April 13-16, 2023.
Click the links on the left or use the menus suggested on the right
SCHEDULE - or click on menu Schedule (available September 2)
INSTRUCTORS & PERFORMERS - or click on menu Instructors
REGISTER or DONATE - or click on menu Register = the orange button
HOW TO - or click on menu Info and choose How To at FH
T-SHIRTS - Info coming later. You'll be able to pre-order t-shirts in various styles and pick them up at Fiddle Hell.
VIRTUAL EXHIBITORS - More details in Whova for attendees.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - or click on menu Info and choose Q&A about FH (includes COVID precautions)
GIVEAWAYS - We'll have a CodaBow giveaway and perhaps more.
There's lots of other helpful info under menu Info.
And you can go to the Fiddle Hell Facebook group, Instagram channel, YouTube channel (with jam videos & instructor previews), and Twitter account by clicking on the links, or on the icons on the top or bottom of this page.
To keep us safe, we reimagined Fiddle Hell as an online festival and music camp in November, 2020. It was an exciting new way for our music community to reconnect during the pandemic. 35 concerts, 35 jams and 165 workshops were all live, with video replays for the next 3 months. Although we missed seeing our musical friends face-to-face, and jamming with them in the hallways, we had front-row seats for every virtual session, and were joined by new attendees and instructors from around the world!
We had such a good time that we ran a second Fiddle Hell Online on April 15-18, 2021! And a third FHO on November 4-7, 2021!
And a fourth FHO on April 7-10, 2022! We had many new instructors and new sessions. There were 180 live workshops to learn from, 35 live concerts to enjoy, and 35 live jam sessions to join on Zoom, for fiddle, mandolin, cello, guitar, old-time banjo, & singing. Other instruments and listeners were welcome, too. Fiddle Hell instructors -- experienced & supportive teachers, and wonderful & inspiring players -- covered Bluegrass, Blues, Cajun, Cape Breton, East European, Electric, Irish, Jazz, Jazz Manouche, Klezmer, Latin, Mexican, New Acoustic, New England, Old-Time Southern, Québécois, Scottish, Swedish, and Swing styles.
Historical and technical workshops were on the program in addition to tune and style learning --Using Music to Confront Racism, History of the Blues, African Americans & the Banjo, Old-Time Tunes of an Enslaved Fiddler, How to Learn Tunes by Ear, Improve Your Timing & Speed, Bow Chopping and Strum Bowing, Improvisation, Ornaments, Connecting the Tune to the Dance Floor, Looping & Effects, OT Bow Rocking, Building Blocks for Jazz Solos, Charanga Riffs, Tools of Creativity for Mandolin, Guitar Backup in several styles, Cello Accompaniment Techniques, Singing with Strength, Making an Instructional Video, and many more. and many more. Workshops and jams are designed for Beginners, Low Intermediates, High Intermediates, and Advanced players, although you can attend or replay any sessions you like.
These inspiring and incredible sessions were a great value for players and listeners. Attending FHO is not only an amazing experience, it’s a way for you to support and connect with these wonderful instructors and performers. Attendees have said that their broad opportunities for learning (tunes, styles, instruments, techniques), gains in musical inspiration, and renewed connections with the community were priceless! Discounts are always provided for seniors and young musicians, and there are further discounts and many giveaways (books, lessons, CDs, a beautiful fiddle, and free workshops) for early bird signups. Scholarships based on financial need are available.
Attendance and participation at FHO are from your laptop, desktop, tablet, phone, or other device. You'll be viewing replays conveniently reached (through our event software called "Whova") from a web browser or mobile app. At face-to-face Fiddle Hell, you had to make a difficult choice of where to go in each time slot; for FHO, you'll be able to replay videos of prior sessions for 4 months, so you won't miss your favorite instructors, workshop topics, jams, and performers. Optionally, you can access the FHO online community once you register, for discussions, messaging, virtual exhibitors, and technical help if you need it.
The next Fiddle Hell Online is scheduled for April 13-16, 2023.
On behalf of Fiddle Hell and my family, we hope you are doing ok, staying healthy, and coping with the difficult changes to everyday life. We had a great time jamming, learning, and having fun with you in April! It was a time for friendship and reconnection, and for awesome learning and listening. We'll see you in November!
Fiddle Hell strives to be an actively inclusive and welcoming place for people of all racial groups, ethnicities, abilities, gender identities and/or expressions, sexual orientations, incomes, religions, and other identities. We value and embrace all forms of diversity among our staff and participants. In August 2020, we identified a number of areas where Fiddle Hell could improve with respect to racial justice, and we took taking steps to put these ideas into action. We were excited to offer workshops (in 2020 and 2021, and continuing in April and November 2022 and beyond) that provide opportunities to learn about the contributions and roles of people of color in the origins and evolution of the instruments, tunes, and styles we play. Please click here to read about these steps in our full Statement about Fiddle Hell and Racial Justice.
For 17 years, the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Festival has been a yearly gathering of fiddlers, cellists, mandolin/guitar/old-time banjo players, and singers to meet, jam, learn, listen, and have fun. It's both friendly and diverse, crossing all ages and including many traditional musical styles. To keep ourselves safe during the pandemic, we re-imagined Fiddle Hell as an online festival and music camp. We have enjoyed four Fiddle Hell Onlines, with a fifth planned for April, 2023. Typically, there are about 8% beginners, 25% low intermediates, 37% high intermediates, and 30% advanced players, with many workshop and jam session choices at each level. When FH is in-person in Westford, MA, roughly 15% of the attendees have been kids, and we have had some sessions just for them.
The invention of the late, great fiddler Dale Hopkins from Missouri, "Fiddle Hell" events have occurred in fun locations worldwide. Prior Fiddle Hells have been held in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany. Dale used the term "Fiddle Hell" to refer to the unique sound of many fiddlers playing a tune together. While Dale's two Fiddle Hell gatherings involved performances for the public as well as some informal sharing of tunes and techniques, Dave Reiner extended the concept to make the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Festival more of a hands-on festival for all ages, with hundreds of scheduled workshops and jam sessions led by a wonderful group of experienced and supportive instructors, as well as many amazing concerts. The Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Festival and Fiddle Hell Online are now run by the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts LLC.
In 2019, we had 800+ musicians as attendees at the fifteenth Fiddle Hell Massachusetts, held at the Westford Regency Inn & Conference Center in Westford, MA. Participants came from as far away as Scotland, Germany, Canada, California, Alabama, Michigan, Texas and Florida, and from as near as Westford, MA, itself. They played and learned in many styles - New England, Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, Southern Old-TIme, Bluegrass, French Canadian, Jazz, Swing, Scandinavian, Klezmer, Blues, Electric, World, and more. Many tunes were taught, along with the stylistic details of the different traditions. In-depth workshops on techniques covered jamming, learning by ear, backing up singers, music theory, bowing patterns, improvisation, looping, and much more. Informal hallway jams in 9 "jam spots" were active through most of the day and night. For attendees, instructors, and staff, 2019 was a Fiddle Hell to remember!
In November, 2020, we held our first Fiddle Hell Online, with over 800 attendees. Without physical space limitations, we increased the number of concerts to 35, along with 35 jams and 170 workshops. While there were no hallway jams or in-person hugs with musical friends, attendees really appreciated "front-row" seats for all sessions, and the ability to replay all sessions (and even slow them down) for the next 3 months. We were excited to offer many more workshops that provided opportunities to learn about the contributions and roles of people of color in the origins and evolution of the instruments, tunes, and styles we play. In April, 2021, we held our second Fiddle Hell Online, with even more workshops and over 900 attendees. In November, 2021, the third FHO had over 800 attendees. In April, 2022, the fourth FHO was held, with lots of new instructors and sessions.
We plan to be in-person in Westford, MA, Nov 3-6, 2022.
And the next online FHO will be April 13-16, 2023.
To help with jams, to give players some common repertoire, and to encourage all to try out new styles, we introduced the "original" set of 52 common tunes in 2010, and added the "new" set of 52 more tunes in 2016. The New 52 were chosen based on your suggestions from the prior 4 years of FH surveys. Some of these 104 common tunes will be taught in workshops in November, and will likely show up in jams. These tunes are all listed here. We just call them the "Common Tune List" or "CTL" these days, without distinguishing which of the two lists tunes come from.
You can order an instructional 2-CD set of the 52 original Fiddle Hell common tunes, played both up-to-speed and slowly by the Reiner Family Band. Volume 1 is only $15 postpaid (within the US) in our online Store.
In 2017, the Reiner Family Band (and several talented friends) recorded a 2-CD set of the 52 new common tunes, played fast and slow. Volume 2 is also only $15 postpaid (within the US) in our online Store.
Fiddle Hell Online and the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Festival are run by the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts LLC. Our events are loosely sponsored online by the Fiddle and Alternative Strings Forum and the Fiddle Hangout. At these websites, you'll find discussions, event listings, and other resources; you can join for free and read about past and future Fiddle Hell meetings.
Our usual sponsors, D'Addario and CodaBow, have not been doing giveaways at the Online Fiddle Hells. You can read more about other sponsors in the Virtual Exhibits once you're registered, or earlier by clicking here.
We're working closely with Maine Fiddle Camp, Ashokan Camps, Northeast Heritage Music Camp, Creative Strings Workshop, Strings Without Boundaries, New England Folk Festival (NEFFA), Fiddleheads, and Rustic Roots Camp on cross-promotion and best practices for online teaching.
Thanks to Jenna Moynihan, Fiddle Hell Instructor, for the photo!