String Band

A group of musicians jams during the 2018 Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop.

Whether you know it as the Appalachian String Band Festival or simply “Clifftop,” it’s a popular draw for musicians and music lovers from around the world.

The annual five-day (officially) festival hosted by the West Virginia Division of Arts, Culture and History at Camp Washington-Carver at Clifftop in Fayette County draws praise from musicians world-wide.

The actual dates of the 2019 festival are July 31 to Aug. 4, but musicians were pouring into the area last weekend for the festival advertised on the West Virginia Division of Arts, Culture and History website as “a five-day mountaintop gathering of musicians and friends with contests, concerts, workshops, square dances, camping and a hymn-sing.

“West Virginia masters are presented to an audience of more than 3000 musicians and string band music lovers from around the world. Over the history of this festival, more than 20 foreign countries and 48 of the 50 states have been represented, with many returning year after year to this much-loved festival.”

One fan, Kristian Herner of Sweden, posted on the Appalachian String Band Festival Facebook page, offering advice to fellow Europeans: “I fly from Sweden every year if at all possible. I plan my summer vacation time around this festival. … If you are a European and wondering if this (is) worth traveling across the Atlantic for: Yes. Yes it is. … Clifftop is the best motivation, inspiration and exhilaration you will ever get if you are playing old-time music.”

If you just enjoy listening to old-time music, you’re welcome at the festival as well. Stroll through the grounds, enjoying spontaneous jam sessions around every corner and underneath practically every tree, or sit in the Great Chestnut Lodge to take in daily programs. Check out the music and crafts for sale or sit and listen to master musicians and students trade off tips.

For more on ticket prices, visit

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