Welcome to IOTFA! See the Alerts! below.

Opening Ceremony of the 2019 Illinois State Fiddle Contest at the Effingham (IL) Performance Center, October 27.

The Illinois Old Time Fiddlers Association is a not-for-profit organization. The group was formed and hosted its first fiddle contest in 1965, then incorporated in 1966.  The association is dedicated to reviving and furthering Old Time Fiddle Music, to the preserving of the Old Time Tunes and fiddling techniques, and to the passing on of this traditional form of entertainment to the younger generation.  The young folks are our future!  We encourage you to embrace these goals and become a member of this association.   Please join the IOTFA to share your enthusiasm, your talent and to contribute your expertise to help achieve these goals.  We welcome your participation and appreciate your support.

The Latest IOTFA Posts & News:

The CIVID-19 pandemic has taken it’s toll on fiddlers as with everyone.  The future of the organization is of some concern and to facilitate its operation the current officers have agreed to retain their duties during the 2021 calendar year as we await developments that impact the future of the IOTFA.

   While you’re here on our web page, please check out the rest of these pages.

This Home Page and/or the Events page will be where the developments will be reported.  During a recent business meeting the following has been determined:

1.  The monthly meetings of music resumed on the traditional third Sunday of the month starting on Sunday, April 19, from 2-5 pm.  These monthly meetings are held at The Chesnut Family Music store in Effingham. A business meeting of officers, board members and interested audience may follow as needed.

Please see the details of the location in the section on monthly meetings in this web page.   The next meeting/jam is the third Sunday, July 18, 2-5 pm as usual.

2.  The status of the 2021 Annual Fiddle Contest has been determined.  Due to several pandemic disruptions including some organizational changes, the 2021 Annual Fiddle Contest has been cancelled.  Our Web Page and email are still up and running so we can keep you informed of new and exciting developments that may occur around the State of Illinois.

If you have not received an email messages from the IOTFA, please send your name(s) and email address and we’ll add your name to our email list.

3.  The IOTFA will continue to do acoustic music programs during this season and as usual, any funds we are paid will be added to the Annual Fiddle Contest Fund.  For your convenience the details of those gigs will be listed here in chronological order as the details become known.  See the list below.

List of OF performance dates in the east central IL area:

June 13, 2021, Sunday,1:00 to 2:30 pm at the Five Mile House.  The FMH is a non-profit that operates mostly during the summer months and is located at the junction of IL Rt 130 and the Westfield Rd about five miles southeast of Charleston.  There are usually additional 1845 type activities running concurrently during the 1-5 pm afternoon with their series of music performances so there is something for the entire family.  No admission is charged so bring your lawn chair and enjoy the music.  Restrooms are available.

June 19, 2021, Saturday, 11am-2 pm; Neoga IGA Cookout and Music.  This is a fundraising event to support the fiddle contest (see above).  Volunteers who wish to play music and/or serve as cook, food helpers, cashier, host for Memberships and/or Contributions and miscellaneous jobs should arrive a little early to help with the setup.  We usually play music most of the 11-2 time block and all are welcome to participate.  A PA system is generally not used.  Bring your pickin’ chair or lawn chair to listen and a picnic table is generally available.  The menu is usually drinks, chips,  hot dogs & sandwiches of other meats of various costs.  The IGA Store does a fine job of hosting the event.   Hope to see you there!  Note: Due to inclement weather this outside event was cancelled.

September 25, 2021, Saturday, 11am-2 pm; Neoga IGA Cookout and Music.  See the details in the June 19 event above.

Other IOTFA music and activities programs as they develop will be added so the list will be in chronological order.

Previous posts of interest:

The Dennis Stroughmatt IOTFA Performance

Dennis Stroughmatt

 The October 24, 2020 concert by Dennis Stroughtmatt and his band was success!  He presented a very fine performance revealing his expertise in the several styles of fiddling in which he specializes.

From the University of Illinois production of Illinois country music:

“Dennis Stroughmatt is an award-winning fiddler, educator and historian. Stroughmatt is an expert in the early music and history of the French Midwest Creole cultures along the Mississippi River in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. He is the founder of the Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Espirit Creole band. He performs and lectures widely across the nation. When he’s not on the road, Stroughmatt is an instructor at Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel, IL.”

Dennis actually has a national presence and has played and entertained in a number of states of the US from Montana to Florida to Connecticut to Wisconsin and probably more I haven’t heard about.

I have seen Denis play and he does a fine job and includes a variety of music types.  Dennis is also known for his program in Creole fiddle music he learned from residents of the French settlements south of St. Louis, MO.  Check out these videos for some good examples of his programs:


is the YouTube address for his performance at the Library of Congress from which you can get an appreciation of his talent.

Also see:


for some country music. Dennis was featured in the TV series on Illinois County Music that aired at about the same time as the long series on country music by Ken Burns on Public TV.

Also try:


Dennis Stroughmatt

See his web page for more information and contact information.

Jerry W. Ellis, the IOTFA web page guy.