Oldtone and Hancock Shaker Village present:

The Northeast Fiddlers' Convention

at the Hancock Shaker Village

1843 W. Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 

w/ Bill & the Belles, Nils Fredland & tara linhardt!

June 9, 2018
from 2pm - Midnight
w/ Hancock Shaker Village events available for
Fiddlers’ Convention ticket holders as early as 10 am.

SCHEDULE  | CONTESTS  MUSICIANS tickets |  where to stay


8pm-midnight Square Dance
W/ calling by Nils Fredland
and music from Bill & the Belles

Oldtone and Hancock Shaker Village aspire to create a beacon in the Berkshires for Old-time enthusiasts. The first-ever Northeast Fiddlers’ Convention is inspired by the great Southern Old-time music conventions. Participants are invited to jam, learn, compete, eat, dance and celebrate together in an atmosphere of participation. We envision a new annual tradition in the preservation of the rich Old-Time music culture in the Northeast.    

This year’s convention features instrument and historical workshops by Bill & the Belles, Nils Fredland, and Tara Linhardt.  We are offering picking & singing in the historic round stone barn, instrument contests, jamming, and a square dance with live music from Bill and the Belles, one of the most popular roots bands on the scene today. The Square Dance will be called by renown caller and the Artistic Director of Revels North; Nils Fredland. Historic demonstrations available all day from Hancock Shaker Village.

ALL DAY PICKIN’ ENCOURAGED!  Participation is Preservation!

We will have chairs in nooks and crannies throughout the site for you and your friends to hang out and jam.  Beer, beverages, and local food available all day provided by the Hancock Shaker Beer & Wine Bar, Sky View Farm and the Sol Gypsy Food Truck.  No outside food and beverages are permitted at this event.


10am     Village opens

2-4pm   Workshops

4-5pm   Open Jam in the Round Stone Barn

5-7pm   Fiddle & Banjo Contest

7-8pm   Open Jam

8pm-Midnight Square Dance w/ calling by Nils Fredland and music from Bill & the Belles


Contestant Sign-up is REQUIRED!   Space is limited, and walk-ins are not guaranteed a contestant spot. All signups get Oldtone & NE Fiddlers' Convention stickers at check-in!
Fill out the form below or email to register for the contests.


Judged Contests for the following categories*:

Fiddle  /  Banjo   /  Guitar  /  Mandolin 


2018 Prizes for each category are:

1st PRIZE: $100 cash! 1 Full Camping ticket to the 2018 Oldtone Roots Music Festival
1 ticket to the 2019 N.E. Fiddlers’ Convention
2 tickets to Supertone Music Festival
Fiddlers’ Merch Bag

2nd PRIZE: $50 CASH!
A ticket to the 2019 N.E. Fiddlers’ Convention
Fiddlers’ Merch Bag

3rd-PRIZE: Fiddlers’ Merch Bag!


The General Rules:  

Two song maximum per contestant in a category
Songs can be no longer that 3 minutes each
No talking into the microphones
Only One accompanying rhythm instrument is permitted
Contestants may sign up for more than one category

Only ticket holders can participate
Contestant must show respect to their fellow contestants, the judges, the MC, and the venue!

Name *
Have A Ticket?



Genre differences such as Old TIme and Bluegrass are judged together in a single category.
Contests start at 5pm in this order: Dobro, Mandolin, Guitar, Banjo then Fiddle.
If you already have an Oldtone Fest ticket, you may give your winning ticket to someone.
*If we do not receive the required quota of contestants per instrument category, a category may be cancelled up to four days prior to the event.  Contestants will be emailed about any changes to the contests.

For any questions please email:


The NE Fiddlers’ Convention will feature workshops by Kris Truelsen, Grace Van’t Hof, Kalia Yeagle, Karl Zerfas, Nils Fredland and Tara Linhardt.  Hands-on, all skill-level inclusives in Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Bass, Voice, Dance and History will be featured throughout the Shaker Village campus.  The beautiful buildings and settings will be the classrooms for each workshop where you will be encouraged to engage with the workshop leaders. We anticipate these sections to be small in class size and intimate, the leaders will assess the skill levels in the room and try to address a wide range of instruction and knowledge in their particular subjects. No sign-ups are necessary for the workshops, and reservations are not accepted.



Tara Linhardt: Mandolin: “Monroe and Beyond”

Kris Truelsen: Guitar &  Band Styles: "Evolutions from the 20s & 30s”

Grace Van’t Hof: Banjo: “Bluegrass Drive to Old-Time”

Kalia Yeagle: Fiddle: “All Things Fiddle”

Karl Zerfas: “The Bass”

Nils Fredland: "Square Dance History Through Your Feet"




Bill and the Belles play alongside America’s top roots music artists as the house band for the historic radio program Farm and Fun Time presented by Radio Bristol and the Birthplace of Country Music. Lifelong musicians Kris Truelsen, Grace Van’t Hof, Kalia Yeagle, and Karl Zerfas bring to the stage an uplifting show unlike any other, full of humor, high spirits, and all-around revelry.  

KRIS TRUELSEN (guitar, vocal) was the first to earn his masters degree in Appalachian Studies from East Tennessee State University. He is the producer of Radio Bristol, housed in the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Kris' music, philosophy, and enthusiasm touch audiences internationally. Kris produces and hosts the historic radio program "Farm and Fun Time" and a daily morning program "On the Sunny Side."

KALIA YEAGLE’s (fiddle, guitar, vocal) expressive and versatile fiddling is quickly positioning her at the forefront of a new generation of acoustic musicians. Her music is undeniably of the mountains, both the Chugach and the Blue Ridge. As a scholar of Appalachian Studies, she studied the rich musical heritage of the region with special interest in early country music’s pioneering female artists.

GRACE VAN’T HOF (banjo, banjo ukulele, vocal) from Western Michigan, Grace is inspired by artists ranging from Charlie Poole to Puccini, and her banjo playing provides equal parts drive and subtly to Bill and the Belles. A founding member of the Grammy-nominated Della Mae and longtime touring musician, Grace’s career has taken her around the world and continues to do so.

KARL ZERFAS (bass) of Manhattan, Kansas, a sought after bassist across east Tennessee and western North Carolina, drawing influence from classic country, early jazz, and hillbilly music. His unique perspective and solid groove shape the rhythmic backbone of Bill and the Belles.


Nils is a graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Trombone performance. Nils is an engaging and charismatic community builder who has been bringing people together through traditional dance, music, song, and story for almost twenty years. He is an internationally-renowned contra and square dance caller, and a classically trained trombonist and singer adept at performing in many different styles. In addition to his role as a performer, Nils brings experience in public speaking, choral conducting, traditional song and dance camp directing, curriculum development, and project management. He is a published author and editor of two books on traditional singing squares, and is widely regarded as a leader in the effort to keep this unique tradition alive and growing. After fifteen years of keeping a full-time touring schedule in the field of traditional dance, music, and song, Nils is happy to be turning his focus to Revels North and the robust Upper Valley arts community.

Revels North; Nils Fredland.



Tara Linhardt is an award winning multi-instrumentalist who performs on mandolin and guitar as her main instruments and also teaches mandolin, guitar, and ukulele. She has won many awards for her skills as an instrumentalist and some for songwriting. She has taken first place in such contests as The Mt. Airy Fiddler's Convention, the Maury River Fiddler's Convention, Watermelon Park Festival, and The Deer Creek Fiddler's Convention just to name a few.  She also has been nominated in multiple years for Washington DC bluegrass instrumentalist of the year. She performs in her Bluegrass, Swing Jazz, Nepali, and Himalayan-Appalachian bands, as well as some others. She has performed at National Geographic, The Smithsonian Folklike Festival, The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, The 9:30 Club, and varieties of other venues, music festivals, and universities.


Tickets on sale here


Day tickets (10am-7pm) $20 advance/$25 day of.

Day Tickets cover entry to Hancock Shaker Village galleries and buildings and participation in all workshops, round stone barn jam, and the fiddle contest. Also faccess to the grounds, 20 historic buildings, and hiking trails at Hancock Shaker Village,  a 750-acre property dating back to 1790.  Free Hancock Shaker Village demonstrations available from 10-4 will include: an introduction to the Shakers talk, a farm and garden tour, a water turbine demonstration, a Shaker music and dance demonstration, a tour of the historic round stone barn, blacksmith demonstrations, a Shaker cooking demonstration, and a medicinal herb garden talk.

Evening Tickets: (7pm-midnight) $20 advance/$25 day of.

Evening tickets are for the 7:00 open jam in the 1910 barn, Dance and Concert

Ticket for all events from 10am-midnight are $35/$45  


12 and under free

13-17 yrs $15 Day Ticket (10am-7pm)

13-17 yrs $15 Evening Ticket (7pm-Midnight)

13-17 yrs $25 everything (10am-midnight)

$100 High Note ticket:

Includes a full day and evening pass, plus tour of Hancock Shaker Village's musical heritage of Shakers (they wrote over 10,000 songs, and tour includes a rare peek at song sheets from the early 1800s) and a just-before-midnight peek at Silo Songs, a new sound art work by composer musician Brad Wells (Roomful of Teeth), opening in one of the historic silos, based on historic shaker music and recorded by Sam Amidon, Rhiannon Giddens, and Caroline Shaw recreating the ecstatic experience of the musically induced trance like state the Shakers are known for.