September-October 2020

The 49th Annual Santa Barbara Old-Time Fiddlers’ Festival (Close-to-Home Edition)

By David Bragger

santa barbara 2020 posterHowdy Folks! The Santa Barbara Old-Time Fiddlers’ Festival will be on this year…virtually!! The Goleta Valley Historical Society and I strongly believe in the safety of our festival-goers so it was a no-brainer to present an online version of the festival this year. Here’s the lowdown. On Sunday, October 11th, 2020 our festival will showcase numerous concerts, workshops and our contest!

The online concerts will be performed by Paul Brown (NC), Nokosee Fields & Ryan Nickerson (OK), Rafe Stefanini (PA), Clelia Stefanini & Eric Frey (TN), Tricia Spencer & Howard Rains (KS & TX), The Horsenecks (OR), Travis Stuart (NC) and the SLO County Stumblers (CA & TN). There will also be multiple online workshops by Paul Brown, Gabrielle Macrae, Chris Berry, Pat Mac Swyney and myself.

Additionally we’re holding an online version of our 49-year old contest!! The online contest will be offering a $400 prize for the first-place winners in four categories: Fiddle, Banjo, Singing and Youth. The Youth category will accept any youngster who’d like to compete in fiddle, banjo or singing. (To be clear, the individual Youth category allows both instruments and singing to be judged together.) The Santa Barbara Old-Time Fiddlers’ Festival contest was conceived for the sole purpose of sharing music and educating locals and out-of-towners about traditional music. It has always been my favorite contest because it doesn’t have the competitive vibe that many contests possess. It’s more about showing everybody the great tunes and songs that you’ve been learning, developing and that you love to play. If you win something, awesome. The real winners are all of us who get to enjoy great old-time music from the contestants and the finalists! Since this year is online, contestants from anywhere in the world can compete.

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Raffle Banjo for postingWe decided to make this year's festival a donation-only festival. DONATE whatever you like! Be sure to indicate that your donation is for the "Fiddlers' Festival 2020" when you donate to our festival hosts, the Goleta Valley Historical Society. Any support you give us will help keep our traditional festival alive. We're a volunteer-based, non-profit festival. Also, we encourage you to donate to the performer and instructor "tip jars" that will be provided during their performances and workshops. Please support our artists.

We are so excited to announce an online raffle for a one-of-a-kind Menzies gourd banjo with a mango neck and Jamaican goatskin head valued at $895! You can purchase as many $1 raffle tickets as your heart desires HERE.

The concerts, workshops and contest winner videos will be scheduled throughout the day on our YouTube channel and on our Facebook page.

For more information and up-to-date scheduling, visit us at our official website: The 49th Annual Santa Barbara Old-Time Fiddlers Festival.

David Bragger is a Los Angeles-based instructor and player of old time fiddle and banjo music. He also photographs, films, and collects the lore of traditional artists, from puppeteers in Myanmar to fiddlers of Appalachia The Old Time Tiki Parlour


All Columns by David Bragger