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Release: Immediate

28th annual Fiddler's Picnic is Sunday, Oct. 4

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The largest and oldest folk festival in the area is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 4. The 28th annual Fiddlers Picnic will be from noon to 6 p.m. at the Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds one mile south of Iowa City on Old U.S. 218. Admission is $5 but children under age 12 will be admitted free.

The Fiddler's Picnic is a one-day festival of traditional music, featuring old-time fiddlers, other folk instrumentalists and singers from Iowa and surrounding states. There will also be an open stage for those fiddlers, old-time bands and other traditional groups that would like to perform. In addition, there are always musicians jamming in small groups that spontaneously form around the fairgrounds. Strolling from group to group, casually sampling the music is a favorite diversion for musicians and non-musicians alike.

The Fiddler's Picnic began 27 years ago as a large, dedicatedly informal gathering of musicians, their families and friends at a Johnson County farm. Masters of local tradition teamed up with novices, grandparents with grandchildren, neighbors with out-of-towners, all keeping the old tunes alive. They aimed only to sing, strum, or bow a bit of their stuff, to entertain anyone who cared to listen, and to have fun.

Their stage was an old hay wagon. The best seat in the house was a lawn chair. Nevertheless -- or maybe for that very reason -- the gathering quickly gained regional fame and evolved into a much-anticipated annual event. A platform sound stage and bleachers have replaced the wagon and wicker, but the informal spirit, the opportunity to jam or just listen, and the love of traditional music remain.

"Everyone is welcome to bring a picnic lunch and eat on the bleachers or on the spacious hillside above the stage," says Dennis Roseman, a member of the University of Iowa Friends of

Old-Time Music, the non-profit group that sponsors the event. "We hope that many people will come and enjoy the music with us. Bring your instruments if you have them and join in the fun."

Although the Friends of Old-Time Music is affiliated with the UI, it is financially self-supporting, with no direct contribution of UI funds. Proceeds of the picnic provide funds to bring traditional music to the public.

Refreshments will be sold. Water and restrooms are available on the grounds. There is also a rain location on the Fairgrounds.

For further information contact: Dennis Roseman, department of mathematics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242; home phone: (319) 337-4952; work phone: (319) 335-0779; or e-mail: .