November-December 2020

49th Annual Santa Barbara Fiddlers' Festival

The Concerts, Workshops and Contest Winners

By David Bragger

santa barbara 2020 posterOn October 11th, the 49th Annual Santa Barbara Old-Time Fiddlers' Festival took place. It was the culmination of 10 months of planning and adapting to the Great Pandemic. The Goleta Valley Historical Society and I decided that the tradition should continue this year in a "Close-To-Home" online format. Having attended, performed and taught at several online festivals during this quarantine, I decided to experiment with our format. No registration process for attending, no fees and no streaming. Rather, there would be a schedule of events (Concerts, Workshops & Contest Winners) available on the official festival YouTube channel. 

Each segment premiered at particular times with a live chat for attendees and artists. However, we pre-recorded everything to ensure good sound and no streaming problems. Also, this gave the artists license to try different things that wouldn't be possible live on stage. For instance, Spencer & Rains performed on the family farm and even gave us a guided tour. Nokosee Fields & Ryan Nickerson made a surreal performance film. Even I had the opportunity to film and edit a fiddle lesson in the Tiki Parlour style. Additionally, we were able to present a Contest Video that showcased the twenty finalists! 

It was a smashing success and if you missed it, you didn't really miss it. It's all up on our festival YouTube page for eternity. Check it out and please TIP the artists. It's how we earn a living! (The festival relies on the honor system model!) ENJOY!


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