When I first heard that we were going to have a fiddle flash mob here in Minneapolis, I was worried that we were going to be raided by the police (OK, not really). I am lucky enough to live in a place that has three old-time mountain music jams I can go to each week, and we don't even live near any mountains. Most of the tunes played at these jams are Appalachian, except for the occasional polka or Canadian tune.
Today's flash mob was organized by Pam Longtine and her husband Doug Heine. The premise was simple: city park, fiddles, potluck. A very simple and brilliant concept. The event was attended by about 40 people and a good time was had by all. We are are well accustomed to this kind of atmosphere. Normally we would travel hundreds of miles and pay lots of money to go to festivals, only to skip the stage and play with each other in the back 40. It is like a small extended family- everyone is always offering me food or alcohol.
Usually if a jam gets too big, the elder statesmen and women break off and start their own jam. They don't mean any harm, I think it is just what's comfortable for them. They were nice enough to let me record a few songs. One of these elder statesmen is John Wallace. He just got done winning the gambler's fiddle contest at the Minnesota State Fair. The rules are that the judges give you a tune and you have to successfully play it. If you can't play it, you are eliminated and the last one remaining wins. John has won this contest several times.
I could say equally great things about all of the local fiddlers in these videos. They are from left to right in the first video: Robin Fox, Pam Longtine (seen later in video to the left), Don Jacques, John Wallace, Roger Cuthbertson, and Erik Platt on guitar.