Connie Fenner is a local business owner, community connector, and proud breast cancer survivor. She’s committed to supporting orgs that bring people together to create healthier communities, including powering our Go See This series this season. The Hoppin’ John Fiddlers Convention is right around the corner, and we invite you to Go See This . . .
UPDATE 8/30/2023: Hoppin’ John has shared that, due to an unexpected and significant situation, Phil Wiggins will not be appearing at the 16th Annual Hoppin’ John Fiddlers’ Convention. Hubby Jenkins will move forward with his solo act, and promises to deliver a memorable performance.
As late summer gives way to autumn, the natural beauty of Chatham County beckons folks back to the great outdoors, away from dimly lit, air conditioned rooms and into the embrace of fresh air. For those seeking the harmonious blend of old-time music and vibrant community, look no further than the Hoppin’ John Fiddlers Convention at Shakori Hills Community Arts Center. From September 14 to 16, the convention promises a memorable experience, complete with showcases, workshops, and activities for adults and children alike. Go for a day of festivities or camp under the stars throughout the weekend. The rolling hills and tunes of the Piedmont await you!
Phil Wiggins and Hubby Jenkins
A highlight of this year’s Hoppin’ John will be performances by esteemed guest artists, Phil Wiggins and Hubby Jenkins. Wiggins, renowned for his virtuosity with the acoustic blues harmonica, stands as one of the country’s preeminent players of the instrument. Sharing the stage with him is Jenkins, a Grammy-nominated maestro of multiple instruments – including guitar, banjo, and bones – dedicated to upholding and reviving the traditional heritage of folk, blues, and old-time music.
Speaking on why this concert is particularly special, Event Founder and Coordinator Julie Amani beams with enthusiasm: “Phil and Hubby may be one of the largest acts we’ve ever hosted at Hoppin’ John, so we’re excited about that show and also very grateful to the Chatham Arts Council for helping to bring them here. Without the Grassroots Arts support, it wouldn’t be happening!” Together, this masterful duo promise an evening that will resonate with heart and history, a musical journey not to be missed.
Women in Old-Time Music
Another highly anticipated part of this year’s event is the Women in Old-Time Music showcase, featuring no less than four generations of female and LGBTQ trailblazers such as Erynn Marshall, Gail Gillespie, Molly Stouten, Alice Gerrard, and Tyler Hughes, among others. This dynamic group will play and lead discussions on issues, inspirations, and historical contexts– as well as what it’s like for women in traditional music today.
Erynn Marshall, the fiddler and teacher charged with putting this group together, wants folks to know: “It’s been a hardscrabble journey for many women of the past century who had so many obstacles to playing music and were often not documented or recorded. Still, many found a way because the music in their hearts could not be quelled. Hoppin’ John is an inclusive festival with a beautiful, grassroots vibe. I hope people come on out to enjoy it, and those that do will see women musicians playing a strong part on or off the stage at this fabulous, community event.”
A celebration of the power and resonance of women in the world of traditional music, this showcase is set to captivate hearts and ignite spirits.
Workshops, Contests, and Campfire Magic
Beyond appearances by local, regional, and nationally recognized musicians, Hoppin’ John extends an invitation for attendees to participate actively in the weekend’s array of activities. Unearth hidden dance steps, hone your musical craft, or delve into the narratives of traditional art forms with Hoppin’ John workshops. For the bold and the talented, a slew of contests offer a chance to not only showcase musical prowess, but also to claim coveted cash prizes. All contest participants get a ticket rebate for sharing their musical gifts. Even younger members of the community can engage in the experience, with dedicated crafts, hayrides, contests, and workshops tailored just for kids!
Many Hoppin’ John attendees choose to camp, immersing themselves fully in the experience and fostering a strong sense of community. Once the sun sets and the campfires are lit, impromptu jam sessions often pop up around the campground as artists and attendees gather to share songs and stories. “My own favorite part about Hoppin’ John is the campground jam scene,” Julie Amani recounts. “Whether you camp yourself or not, it’s worth taking a stroll through the campgrounds because the best music is happening there. It’s pure magic to wander into a campsite at 1 a.m. and find a master fiddler playing an old-time tune with the scrappy kid next door on the banjo. That’s what it’s all about, really!”
The Hoppin’ John Fiddlers Convention is an open invitation to all who seek to build connections through a shared love of music and North Carolina history. Amidst the toe-tapping tunes, spirited gatherings, and unparalleled beauty of Chatham County, you can expect to make plenty of memories and friends. Head on over to Shakori Hills Community Arts Center this September to celebrate the wonders of music, nature, and community!
The Short Version
- Who: Phil Wiggins, Hubby Jenkins, Women in Old-Time Music, and a slew of other music-makers
- What: Hoppin’ John Fiddlers Convention
- When: Thursday, September 14 – Saturday, September 16, 2023
- Where: Shakori Hills Community Arts Center, 1439 Henderson Tanyard Rd, Pittsboro, NC 27312
- Cost: Variable. See the Hoppin’ John website for details.
- Parking: Visitor parking on site
- Accessibility: This is an outdoor event with natural terrain. Please contact Hoppin’ John for assistance with access to stages and tents.
- For more info: http://hoppinjohn.org