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Walnut Valley Festival
31 Dec 2013
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Description

The Walnut Valley Association was formed in 1972, with its sole purpose to produce the Walnut Valley National Guitar Flat-Picking Championships Festival, also known as the Flat-Picking Championships, currently known as the "Walnut Valley Festival" or simply "Winfield" to the long time attendees.

Evolving from three days in 1972 to its current five days the 3rd weekend of September annually, it endeavors to produce "family fare" entertainment on four stages simultaneously, a large quality, juried arts and crafts fair, workshops, and acoustic instrument contests. What began with 10 acts and two contests now boasts 30 to 40 acts and eight contests, including two international contests, five national contests and one Walnut Valley contest.

Along with the National Flat Pick Guitar Championships and the International Finger Style Guitar Championships, the Walnut Valley Festival hosts the International Autoharp, National Mountain Dulcimer, National Hammered Dulcimer, National Bluegrass Banjo, National Mandolin and the Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championships.

Festival attendance has averages between 11,000 and 15,000 annually. It is a "participation" event in that most people who attend play an instrument of some kind, and a good portion of them bring their instruments and participate in the campsite picking. Hired artists who appear on stage also go into the campgrounds and join around campfires to pick with everyone else.

Lots of family reunions happen there, and many weddings have taken place at the Festival. The Walnut Valley Festival has always been a place to make new friends and renew old acquaintances.

Though the Festival is called "bluegrass", it has never been JUST bluegrass. It now is a blend of all kinds of acoustic music: bluegrass, folk, old-time country, a little bit cowboy, some Irish, blues, Cajun, jazz and more; and the bluegrass is both traditional and progressive.

Still the third week-end in September, in Winfield, Kansas, at the Winfield Fairgrounds, the Walnut Valley Festival has long prided itself on being educational as well as enjoyable, but most of all, the Festival is a homecoming. And a homecoming not just because of the music, but a coming home to a place in the soul and the heart with a spirit of celebration.

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This event is featured on the Year of the Rural Arts Calendar of Events. For more information on the Year of the Rural Arts, visit www.artoftherural.org

Tags
Dance Performance Song Education Folklore Heritage Rural Traditional YORA Festival/Celebration Performance Midwest Musician Bluegrass Kansas Music Winfield
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