An article from "Fiddle On" magazine:

It was in a chance conversation in 1992, between bassist Bernard O'Neill and mandolinist Dermot O'Connor that the idea of a London Fiddlers' Convention was first mooted. When Dermot rang me and explained the idea I was skeptical to say the least. Ten fiddlers would each be invited to play a ten minute slot in whatever style they wanted, with backing from the "house band" of Bernard along with guitarist Frank Kilkelly. My reservations were that every fiddler was sure to want to be star of the show, was bound to overrun the allotted time, and there would be more infighting than at a Labour Party conference.

To my surprise and delight, when the big night came at the Weavers Arms it was an occasion to remember, and for all the best reasons. There was a tremendous range and depth of fiddle playing, a warm and relaxed atmosphere, no signs of megalomania, and a hugely enthusiastic audience. The "massed fiddles" which opened and closed the evening were a sight to behold!

For the next eight years it ran as an annual event at the Weavers, coordinated by Bernard along with bluegrass supremo Bob Winquist. Almost every conceivable type of fiddle music has been represented, including Irish, Scottish, Jazz, Western Swing, gypsy, Cajun, Klezmer, Indian, Scandinavian and Greek. Some of the highlights have been collaborations and multi-fiddle arrangements, and the old Zumzeaux anthem "Blazing Fiddles" has become a regular favourite.

In 1997 the Weavers Arms closed, a great loss to the whole London music scene, and the Convention moved to Cecil Sharp House, with the welcome addition of afternoon workshops and jam sessions. A slimmed-down, four fiddle version of the Convention also happens each Autumn at the Festival Hall Foyer.
If you're a fiddle player, fiddle owner or fiddle fan, it's the only place to be!

Chris Haigh




Bob Winquist