Hoedown Fun: Topanga Banjo·Fiddle Contest

The strings have been singing since 1961.

Southern California has seen a number of annual tune-terrific traditions take root, from tuba concerts at Christmastime to a cappella sing-offs to the summer musical on the Hollywood Bowl schedule.

One of the rootsiest has to be the one that blooms each springtime, bringing with it a host of string-sweet sounds, clogging events, and a chance to jam among supportive strangers. It's the Topanga Banjo·Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival, a sepia-toned, denim-donning celebration of old-timey ditties and bluegrassy classics.

It stops to clog during its 57th outing on Sunday, May 21.

That's why we went to "rootiest" for this festival, as it has wayback roots to 1961. And while new people have joined in over the decades, or come simply to watch and enjoy, the contest and festival embrace that vintage character well.

About the contest end of twang-and-warble party? "Over 100 instrumental and singing contests" are woven into the larger tapestry of the day, including Fiddle Beginning, Mandolin Advanced, and some Bluegrass Banjo categories, too.

And while the notion of clogging straight to Topanga Canyon for a glorious, bluegrass-beautiful Sunday afternoon may tempt, note that the location is Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, a landmark that has the perfect character for the ye olde musicale style of the day.

Ticket prices and information? You'll certainly want that. Other good-to-knows, beyond the fact you're headed for a venerable SoCal songfest? Find them now.

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