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Walnut Valley Festival Hosts National Mandolin Championship

By Mandolin Cafe
May 24, 2010 - 1:45 pm

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Sierra Hull and Highway 111 making their first appearance at the Walnut Valley Festival

Sierra Hull and Highway 111 making their first appearance at the Walnut Valley Festival

Winfield, Kans. —1976 wasn't just the bicentennial year for the United States; it was also the first year that the Walnut Valley Mandolin Championship was held in Winfield as a part of a very young Walnut Valley Festival.

Since the first year it was held there have been 34 winners crowned the Walnut Valley Mandolin Champion. Some of the past competitors such as Mark O'Connor, Bobby Clark, Chris Thile and Cody Kilby have gone on to become highly respected in the music industry while others have gone back to their day jobs. They are all members of a short list that will get no longer as of 2009.

Beginning this year at the 39th annual Walnut Valley Festival, the mandolin contest will have a new name, and a higher level of respect. The mandolin contest has joined the Flatpick Guitar, Mountain and Hammer Dulcimers and the Bluegrass Banjo contests to become the The National Mandolin Championship.

Registrations are currently being accepted for all of the contests including the new National Mandolin Championship. Entries for the mandolin contest have already been received from seven different states as well as Australia and Japan. The contest is limited to the first 40 entries to sign up.

The contest will be held at 1:00 p.m. on September 17, 2010 at the Winfield Fairgrounds as a part of the Walnut Valley Festival. The top three winners will each receive custom made mandolins as a portion of the prize package. In 2010, the total prize value for all eight of the instrument contests to be held in 2010 is $98,499.

For 2010 the Walnut Valley Festival will include 31 professional performers on stage including nine artists that are new to the festival stages. The festival music styles will include bluegrass, (both traditional and progressive), folk, western, Americana, old time, Celtic.

Since 2010 has become the year of the Mandolin, among the artists selected to perform are two musicians, one that established himself as a top mandolin player in 1999 when he took home the first prize trophy from the Walnut Valley Mandolin Championship, Anthony Hannigan who has produced a DVD and six CDs as a founding member of the band known as Hickory Project. The other mandolin player, making her first trip to the Walnut Valley Festival is Sierra Hull and her band, Highway 111. Sierra has been impressing fans for several years now with her mandolin skills and beautiful voice.

Regardless of which acoustic instrument you are partial to, the Walnut Valley Festival will have plenty of musical variety to go around. Bring your family and your instruments and meet your friends at the 39th annual Walnut Valley Festival. The festival begins on September 15 and runs through September 19, 2010 at the Winfield Fairgrounds. Advance priced tickets are on sale now at the festival office, 918 Main Street in Winfield, Kansas or by calling (620) 221-3250.

Additional information:
Walnut Valley Web Site


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