The Fretless are featured at this year’s Fiddle Fest in Merville.

The Fretless are featured at this year’s Fiddle Fest in Merville.

Fiddle Fest rocks the Valley

The Fretless play Friday; workshops and contra dance Saturday

Fiddle Fest is rocking in the Comox Valley.  For 16 years, local fiddlers have had an annual spring fling weekend of concerts, music workshops and a rocking contra dance, all at the Big Yellow Merville Hall. This year, clear the tracks for The Fretless, a quartet of hard drivin’, hard fiddlin’ entertainers who will make you hoot for joy. Fronted by local fiddle wizard, Trent Freeman, the band is on tour promoting its latest CD release. The boys will in concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 8 (www.thefretless.com).   The Fretless will also lead musical workshops on Saturday, April 9. Workshops, at $5 each, will be from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The band members will teach fiddle, guitar, piano, mandolin, cello/bass and kazoo to all comers, beginners included, with some jamming thrown in for fun.  Doors open at 10.  The hall will be open all day so you can even use the kitchen to make your lunch.  Saturday night, at 7:30 p.m., join those frantic Fretless fiddlers, along with Fiddlejam, for a $10 “whoop it up” community contra dance with June Cannon calling the moves. Come early for a contra lesson. Youth only pay $5 and there is a special family rate.  All are welcome to come and dance and meet friends, old and new.  Contra dances will be taught on the spot and there are polkas, swing and waltz dances.  The almost famous Big Yellow Merville Hall is right on the Old Island Highway, between Campbell River and Courtenay.  Friday concert tickets are $15 adult and $10 youth, available at Long & McQuade in Courtenay and Blue Heron in Comox. Saturday dance tickets are at the door.

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