Fiddling Traditions in America: A History and Demonstration at Howell Farm

The dynamic role of fiddle music in American life will take center stage when historian and working musician Matthew Backes visits Howell Living History Farm the evening of Thursday, August 27.

A prelude to the annual fiddling contest that will be held Saturday, August 29, the presentation explores the origins and styles of fiddle traditions through discussion and a demonstration of technique and repertoire. The presentation begins with an interactive introduction to the fiddle and includes an in-depth discussion about traditional music in the making, recording and understanding of cultural change.

The program begins at 7:30 p.m., inside the Charles Fish Barn of the Howell Farm Visitor Center. Following the talk there will be refreshments, and opportunities to enjoy music recorded by the Backes’ Magnolia Street String Band.

The program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities in association with The Horizons Speakers Bureau, the Friends of Howell Farm and the Mercer County Park Commission. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

Howell Farm is owned by the County of Mercer and maintained by the Mercer County Park Commission. It is located on Valley Road, just off Route 29, 2 miles south of Lambertville. (GPS address: 70 Woodens Lane, Lambertville, NJ 08530). Visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Parking and admission are free.

For more information, call the farm office at 609-737-3299 or visit or

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