Wonderful people and wonderful music come together for a wonderful day.

53rd Annual Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival


Early Arrivals

It's one of the best bargains of the music world. Located at Paramount Ranch in Topanga, California, bluegrass fans assemble to listen, perform and compete. The ranch is an old movie set of the western genre, and it provides an excellent backdrop for the day's activities. In addition to music on three stages, spontaneous jam sessions develop beside the old buildings. The result is music everywhere.

And these cats know how to play. Age doesn't seem to be a limiting factor. Young and old deliver great music. There's the loose, unrehearsed sound of the jam sessions, the tight, practiced sound of the performance bands, and the well-rehearsed, spotlighted sound of the competitions.

Photographing an event such as this is largely a matter of finding situations in manageable light without distracting elements. Below are some of the opportunities that I found, but many participants and some activities are not represented. So much happens simultaneously that catching anything means missing several other things. Nevertheless, the photographs below are representative of the general nature of the event.

The General Ambience

Not long after the gate opened, the music was going strong. Here is a variety of people at different locations of the event. The good times flow freely.

Portrait of a Bass Man Fiddle Competitor Squeeze Fun Playing Guitar
Doubles on Kazoo A Girl with a Parasol Saloon Quintet String Theory On the Porch

Images Copyright © Ed E. Powell
All Rights Reserved


This grouping contains two or more photographs of individual musicians, and thus reveals a bit more of their personalities than a single photo might reveal. One of them, whom I am acquainted with from the Central Coast Renaissance Faire, won First Place for Intermediate Fiddle. Bravo!

Red Bass Strummin' Got the Low Notes Yellow Bass A Few Bars Solo Stringing Along
Her Last Rehearsal Lovely Light on a Lovely Lass Practicing in the Cabin Amaya Nails It
banjo fiddle Profile Plays Well with Others A Noteworthy Fellow
In a Mellow Jam A Fiddler's Eyes Bridging the Generation Gap Doubles on Guitar
Rockabilly Stance Bow Work A Decade Remembered Jug Blowing Shades of Charlie Polk

Images Copyright © Ed E. Powell
All Rights Reserved

Additional Sights of the Day

Once again, the event was great fun and I'll return again when I can. Good music, good people, and good photography: What's not to like?

Footwork Dance Hall Duo Concert in a Cabin Harmonica Play Dat Thing!
In Case of Fire Cabin Pose Tune-Up Daughter and Dad All That and a Bottle of Beer
The Lookouts By the Barn Doubles on Harmonica Guitar Parking

Images Copyright © Ed E. Powell
All Rights Reserved