Fiddle Week – June 26-July 2, 2022


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 have been fully vaccinated. Following the recommendations of both the NC Department of Health & Human Services and the Buncombe County Health Department, this includes a booster shot.
All participants must be masked and practice physical distancing while indoors.
Social dancing such as contra-, square- and ceili dancing will not be possible next summer due to physical distancing requirements.
Since we will attempt to create a ‘bubble of the vaccinated’ on our campus during the workshops, there will be no events open to the public, and we suggest that Gathering participants remain on campus throughout the week.
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 ranging from Irish to blues, from old-time to swing. Those who love ‘northern’ fiddle styles will be treated to an array of genres from Canada, Scotland and Ireland, and ‘southern’ fiddle music lovers will be thrilled with the varied offerings in old-time, Cajun and bluegrass. Classes in swing, improvisation, and blues round out an immersion experience that any fiddle player will love. The week also 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. This year, folk legend Janis Ian will be offering her “Master Class in Artistry” during all five weeks of the Gathering. 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 Joe Thrift and bow maker Roger Treat, who will be demonstrating their craft and will also have finished works on hand to sample.