Pete McMahan in Concert at Bethel Fiddle Fest

Watching Pete McMahan, Vesta Johnson, Bob Holt, Nile Wilson, and a slew of other greats stomp their foot and pound out tunes on the stage in Bethel, Missouri during "Fiddle Fest" was one of the most pivotal moments for me. It's also a big reason why I sit in front of a computer some 30 years later ripping LP's, cassettes, and editing old recordings given to me to share with any one who's as goofy for fiddling as myself.  It's never been "just a hobby", it's been a lifestyle since my first fiddle lesson.

Bethel has been my Second Home during one week in June for over three decades.  It's where I first discovered my love of fiddle music, studied under the best fiddlers as a kid, and I've had the privilege to teach there for the better part of 20(!) years.  

I've been fortunate enough to have been given a handful of recordings from the early years of the goings on in Bethel.  This was about the time I was falling in love with old-time music and forever involving myself in a lifestyle that would lead me to debt, a basement full of "stuff", and getting introduced to some of the finest folks that I call some of my closest friends today.

"Shut up, John.  Quit rambling."

Here's a very special, one hour concert of one of Missouri's greats.  Pete McMahan backed by, Jack Deck, John G. Stewart, and Kenny Applebee.  This concert was part of the "Fiddle Fest" which wrapped up the week long youth camp and the festival itself was a three day event that ended on Sunday.

     (Click the picture above for the downloadable MP3)

If you're enjoying these posts please think about throwing a few dollars to our scholarship fund that benefits the future fiddlers enrolled at Bethel Youth Fiddle Camp.  We've raised $210!!! so far and that is well over halfway to paying the full tuition for one student this summer.  Think we can raise $140 by the end of the month and cover one tuition?!? 

Thanks to everyone that has donated to the scholarship so far. Y'all are making a dream come true for some lucky kid!

I truly appreciate everyone that follows this blog and supports my efforts here. There's a lot of hours after work, weekends, and money that goes into this blog and storage. I always enjoy getting feedback, stories, and whatever so please leave a comment or email me at -

John P. Williams

I can't talk up the Bethel Fiddle Camps without giving you a link and more info.  Click HERE to register for a week of one-on-one, intensive lessons with some of the best fiddler's in the country.  


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