The Littlefield family continues its musical tradition Sunday with the 44th annual East Benton Fiddlers Convention and Contest on the family farm at 270 Richards Road, between East Benton Road and Albion Road.

Event organizer Chuck Littlefield, 54, said the gates open at 10 a.m. with a fiddle showcase featuring Greg Boardman and Ellen Gawler showing the different ways of playing the fiddle.

“If people want to bring a fiddle and learn how to play or just come in and listen to the music, they can do that,” said Littlefield, who has run the show since her mother, Shirley Littlefield, died in 2004. “After that we’ll have the fiddle contest at 1 p.m.”

Littlefield said featured performers this year include Country Choir, Half Moon Jug Band, Eric and Maisie and the East Benton Jug Band, which is made up of anyone who wants to take the stage and join in.

There also will be a craft tent where children can make their own instruments, learn a song and perform it on stage. The show runs until 7:30 p.m., with food and ice cream available. Glass bottles and dogs are not allowed at the festival.

There also will be what Chuck calls “field pickin’,” when anyone can come and play in the parking lot, where rough camping also is available Saturday night.


“This is our 44th year and the last 12 without her,” she said of her mother, Shirley who died at age 76.

The East Benton Fiddlers Convention and Contest founded in 1972 in a pasture at the Littlefield Farm. Shirley Littlefield, who worked as a housekeeper at dormitory at Colby College in Waterville, loved to invite students to visit and started the festival from a gathering of musicians they invited to the farm. Shirley and her husband, Red, started the fiddler’s convention together and ran it together until his death in 1989, according to published reports. The event drew music enthusiasts from all over the world who came to listen to premier traditional folk fiddle and bluegrass music.

Admission costs $10 at the gate, which includes parking and camping. Porch music picking and jamming is encouraged the night before and after the festival.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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