Fiddle Week – June 30-July 6, 2024



The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to the safe presentation of in-person gatherings of all types. Our safety protocols are guided by the findings of the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Buncombe County Health Department and those of Warren Wilson College.

For the last two years, we have required documentation, verified with a photo ID, that all participants have received a COVID-19 vaccine primary series and have gotten the most recent booster dose recommended by the CDC.

Covid is still with us, but its prevalence has receded to the point where we no longer require vaccination, but still strongly recommend it. Anyone testing positve for Covid during the Gathering will be asked to leave in order to limit the spread of the virus among the participants. 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. Fiddle Week boasts some of the best fiddlers in the world from European traditions such as Irish and Klezmer, as well as some of the premier fiddlers from this side of the pond, teaching America’s diverse fiddling traditions from Texas Swing to old-time to bluegrass and beyond. Fiddle Week doesn’t just offer classes in genres, it offers classes using the fiddle as a form of self-expression with classes in improvisation and exploring your own creativity. 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 mandolin builders Wes & Will Wienman, 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.