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Could Byron Berline’s Fiddle Fest have been called Football Fest instead?

GUTHRIE, OKLAHOMA -- Even with a lively song like 'New Broom', Byron Berline would be hard pressed to sweep away a lifetime of fiddle playing.

His earliest memories include his father putting one under his chin.

"He'd grab my right hand and put the bow in it and grab me here," he demonstrates.

Berline plays like he's always had a piece of maple and spruce in his hands, even though he's never learned to read music, and his technique runs a little contrary to what most classical violin teachers would say is proper.

"They watch me and just cringe," he laughs. "Stop!"

It's one of those things people often wonder about though.

What else could I possibly do?

"It's very interesting," he ponders.

Well, at one time Byron was a pretty good athlete.

He tossed the javelin for the OU Sooners in the early 60's.

He also played football for Bud Wilkinson until the day he caught a football wrong and broke the thumb on his bow hand.

"You never know do you?" he wonders. "Where life takes you. It could be a broken thumb or whatever."

That potential career cut shot, Byron still did pretty well for himself playing hundreds of studio sessions in Los Angeles, producing his own records, winning Grammies, and surrounding himself with the instrument he always loved.

"A man can't have enough," he chuckles. "You always need more fiddles."

His Double Stop Fiddle Shop in Guthrie is still where traveling bands come to hear his stories or where he sells a fiddle from time to time.

"It's no pressure," he smiles.

Berline's music hall upstairs hosts his band and all kinds of performers.

This weekend, of all weekends, he calls Fiddle Fest.

"It's a great time anytime you get a bunch of fiddlers together," he states.

It could have been Football Fest, maybe, but Byron Berline is thankful his hands led him to something he didn't have to grab so hard.

The Annual Fiddle Fest takes place Saturday, February 3. Tickets are $15.00 and the show starts at 7:30pm.

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