The fest has become a tradition in Arlington, a tribute to Speedy’s lifelong achievements – all 91 years of them – and dedication to traditional music.
A respected presence at any American roots music gathering, Speedy Tolliver is known for his versatility, having mastered various fiddle and banjo styles including old time, bluegrass, Dixieland and swing. In Speedy’s book, anyone who plays music, be they master or novice,is “all right.” So, in the spirit of the man, the Fest isn’t really a contest at all – even though ribbons and prizes will be in abundance – but rather a non-competition that invites fiddlers and banjo players of any traditional style to perform in celebration of their love for traditional music. Speedy himself will play several tunes, and then will personally present ribbons to all participants. With Hubie King, of WAMU’s Bluegrass County as emcee, the 2009 non-judgmental judges are Virginia Master Fiddler Mark Campbell from Richmond, Va., and banjo virtuoso Patrick McCauley of Front Royal. Hubie King is a well-respected banjo player and roots music historian in the metropolitan area. He is the host of Bluegrass Country’s “Oldtime Jam.” Event takes place Sun., Sept. 20 from 12-4 p.m. at Madison Center, 3829 North Stafford Street, Arlington, VA. For more information call 703-228-1899, TTY: 703-228-1855 or check out the Arlington Arts website.