The Berkeley Old Time Music Convention is in its 19th year! Way back in 2003 it began life as a string band contest and now it’s a 4 day festival, live and online. The String Band Contest (on Sat Sept. 25 this year) remains the focal point of the BOTMC — in the spirit of the Berkeley Fiddle & Banjo Contests of the 1960s, the rules are deliberately vague and the prizes are rutabagas (First Place, one pound, Second Place, 3 pounds, etc). This freewheeling gathering in Berkeley’s Civic Center Park features a wide variety of bands. Besides the typical fiddle-banjo-guitar old-time trios, you might find bluegrass, jug band, Klezmer, Irish, Middle Eastern, Western Swing, Latin – any kind of old time music is fair game!
The Contest starts at 11 am sharp. Grab some coffee and a snack from the Farmers Market, adjacent to the park. Cajun fiddler David Greely will perform a set at 12:30 during the lunch break. At 1:00 the Horsenecks (Gabrielle Macrae and Barry Southern) will lead an open jam and the contest starts back up.Things usually wrap up by around 2:30.
This year all the other scheduled BOTMC activities on Saturday are online, including two workshops: Flatfooting Clogging with Evie Ladin, and an free interactive workshop, Moving from Appropriation through Attribution to Action. Later in the evening, join an online jam with Eddie Bond and other festival performers, or dance in the comfort of your own home at the Virtual Cajun dance featuring David .Greely
Organizing the BOTMC this year has been a tremendous challenge this year and a great lesson in adaptability. I feel blessed to work with such amazing people! Changes in the schedule occur daily, but for sure there will be plenty happening from Sept. 23-26 so please check the BOTMC website, and sign up for the email list to get updates. www.BerkeleyOldTImeMusic.org