Photo courtesy of the organization.

Berkeley Old Time Music Convention

Old time fiddling and music

About the Organization

The Berkeley Old Time Music Convention is an annual five-day music festival featuring concerts, workshops, master classes, panel discussion, square dance, string band contest, jam sessions, and a community stage in venues throughout Berkeley.

The first stringband contest was held in Provo Park in 1968.  The contest was put on by a loose-knit group of volunteers, musicians organizing a good time for themselves, other musicians and the public.  Annual events were held through 1970; the Convention was resumed in its current fesitval form in 2004 and been held annually since.

Living Cultures Grant Program

2021, 2020

BOTMC received ACTA funding to support “Fiddle Convention Legends: A Cultural Exchange.” Funding helps cover artist fees and related costs for tradition-bearers from Virginia and North Carolina who exemplify the highest standards of Southern old-time music as it is practiced at fiddle conventions: 2018 National Heritage Fellow Eddie Bond, and older generation fiddler Richard Bowman, with his cross-generational family band the Slate Mountain Ramblers. These musicians will perform in concert, conduct master classes, play for a dance, take part in a panel discussion, and participate in informal music-making sessions at the BOTMC in September 2020.

2019, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007

ACTA funding has supported the production of BOTMC events including the appearance of artists such as Bobby Taylor, fiddler from West Virginia; Kim Johnson, banjo player from West Virginia; Travis and Trevor Stuart, fiddle and banjo players from western North Carolina; Ginny Hawker, traditional Appalachian singer, and her husband Tracy Schwartz, master musician and cultural expert; Kenny Hall, mandolin player from the Central Valley of California; Clyde Davenport, old time fiddler and banjo player from Tennessee and NEA National Heritage Fellow; Sheila Kay Adams, ballad singer, banjo player and storyteller from North Carolina; Rich Hartness, Southern Carolina native and singer; the Whitetop Mountain Band; Riley Baugus; Mike Bryant, Tennessee fiddler; Kirk Sutphin, banjo and fiddler master player from western North Carolina; Eddie Bond, American pioneer singer and guitar player of American Rockabilly music; and fiddler Arvil Freeman from North Carolina.


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Suzy Thompson, Director | 510-225-5508

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