2015 John Hartford Memorial Festival Old Time Fiddle Contest
Our third John Hartford Memorial Festival Old Time Fiddling Contest was our toughest yet! Much thanks to our judges for this year, Ryan Spearman, Kelly Wells and Katie Burk. Congratulations to 27 year old Henry Barnes of Columbus Ohio for winning first place. Second Place went to Betse Ellis of Kansas City, MO, and 3rd place went to Shannon Hunt of Frisco, TX.

Betse Ellis 2nd place

Henry took home the coveted handmade trophy plaque by Tom Burkhart, Peaceful Bend Wine, a ton of goodies from Jj Hanson of Beautiful Music Violin Shop and bragging rights! Henry dazzled the Main Stage audience with two tunes performed with legendary Jamie Hartford and Friends, prime time! (see video) Henry has this to say about the event, fiddling and life:

JHMF-Henry, how did you first hear about the festival and the contest?
HB-I saw a flyer for the festival at Rambling House Soda in Columbus, OH.

Shannon Hunt 3rd Place

JHMF-Was this your first JHMF?
-How did you come                                                                                              about being a fiddler?
HB-My fathers favorite                                                                                                 instrument, and now mine.

JHMF-What styles do you play and prefer?
HB-I play and prefer old-time, especially folks from West Virginia and
golden-era recording artists, but I also enjoy listening to Cape
Breton style fiddle and some western fiddle styles.

JHMF-How do you select what you'll play in a contest?
HB-Usually just something fast and weird.

Henry Barnes 1st place

JHMF-how did you fare?
HB-I don't always win but I'm almost always pleased with myself and I
always make friends when I travel so they've all gone really well I'd

JHMF-What do you think about our contest?
HB-It was really great. The hospitality towards all the contestants was
exceptional and the prizes were too.

JHMF-Do you have any advice for beginners?
HB-Be patient, of course! Buy lots of recordings and go to festivals and
make friends there.

JHMF-Any tips on bowing old time?
HB-Dont underestimate a regular old shuffle.

JHMF-Tell us about your fiddle.
HB-I'm playing a German fiddle from the 1860's set up by Tony Ellis. It's dark, deep, and kind of weird looking up close, and I usecomposite-core strings on it instead of my usual Helicore's. Also haveto mention my Romanian A/D canon from John Blisard.
    JHMF-Tell us about your stage performance with Jamie.
HB-Well he was funny and very kind to let me play with him, and his band
was really polite and sounded really good. It was also cool how
excited the crowd was. Overall it was an amazing experience.
As for my life I mostly want to have fun and teach people, not get rich, that kind of thing.

Again Congratulations to Henry, a truly gifted fiddler. Jamie Hartford has told us that he thoroughly enjoys having our champs sit in for a couple of songs. The crowd is into it, Jamie and friends are into it, and we know John Hartford is smilin' down on this event. Tune up, get it right and join us for next year's fiddlin' contest. Be watching here and on our Facebook page for news and details.