Fiddle Week – June 25-July 1, 2023



The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to the safe presentation of in-person gatherings of all types. For next summer, our safety protocols will be guided by the recommendations of the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Buncombe County Health Department and those of Warren Wilson College. We anticipate that these measures will continue to evolve in response to the progress of the virus, but as of this writing:

All participants, including children, must provide documentation, verified with a photo ID, that they are up to date with a COVID-19 vaccine primary series and have gotten the most recent booster dose recommended by the CDC. For maximum immunity, please insure that your immunizations are up-to-date at least two weeks before your participation in the 2023 Swannanoa Gathering.

– We recommend that Gathering participants remain on campus throughout the week.

– Other Covid precautions may be imposed in the spring depending on conditions projected for July. Registrants will be notified in advance of additional safety protocols.

– Participants will be updated throughout the spring of any changes or additions to these safety measures.


Since the invention of the violin, the music of its unschooled alter-ego, the fiddle, has excited people to dance, evoked the devil and the spiritual, echoed the human voice and heart. It is an instrument that has made its way into the core of many different traditions and it speaks a language understood worldwide.

Fiddle Week at the Swannanoa Gathering celebrates that universality with classes in traditional and contemporary styles from Ireland to Texas, from old-time to swing. Those who love ‘northern’ fiddle styles will be treated to an array of genres such as Scottish and Irish, while ‘southern’ fiddle music lovers will be thrilled with the varied offerings in old-time, Texas Swing and bluegrass. In addition to offering genre-based workshops, Fiddle Week also offers classes on some of the most exciting contemporary fiddle techniques today such as chopping and improvisation. The instructors for each topic are meticulously selected and among the best players and teachers in the world. To facilitate jamming, the week includes classes in guitar, focusing on accompaniment in various styles, and bass. For the classes with levels indicated, students are asked to place themselves in the appropriate level. Most classes are taught at the intermediate or advanced level. Intermediate classes are appropriate for advanced players who would like to explore a style that is new to them, or for experienced players who need to get more fluent playing by ear. The advanced classes are designed to build on previous experience in the style. During the last hour of the day, there will be a special class time for students of any skill level to form bands along with students from Mando & Banjo Week. With coaching from instructors, band members arrange tunes and rehearse with the option of performing at the student showcase on Friday evening.

Fiddle Week runs concurrently with Mando & Banjo Week and students may take classes in either program. This year’s Luthier’s Exhibit features violin maker Gordon Gross and bow maker Sarah Bystrom Andal, who will be demonstrating their craft and will also have finished works on hand to sample.