So why do we need awards for fiddlers?
Australasia has for some years undergone a quiet revolution in fiddle playing. Since 2005, leading fiddle fanatics, with the enthusiastic support of fiddle manufacturer Mark Mitchell from Epoch Strings, conduct an annual awards system that focuses on nurturing, supporting and rewarding the wealth of talent that can be found throughout Australia and New Zealand. Fiddlers of all ages and styles, composers, teachers and groups are invited to contest nine categories.
The growing popularity of violin playing in Australia is in keeping with an international trend, which has not gone unnoticed by managing director of Epoch Musical Instruments, Mark Mitchell. ‘We designed and manufactured our range of coloured instruments during the 1990s and they have become popular with a range of players, from schoolchildren through to professional stage performers,’ says Mark. ‘Our four and five string Epoch professionals are being played by leading performers here and in the US, and this is helping to drive many young people towards the sheer fun of fiddling, with instruments which are easier to play than the traditional violin, and which make an individual fashion statement at the same time,’ he added.
The Golden Fiddle Awards were presented for the first time in Tamworth on Wednesday 19 January 2005, and the annual Awards showcase has now become a regular alternative main event during the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival.