Performance & Contest will return in 2022

2021 is the Lake Cachuma Campout

2020 Performance VIDEOS 

Clelia Stefanini & Eric Frey

SLO County Stumblers

Travis Stuart

Rafe Stefanini

Tricia Spencer & Howard Rains

Nokosee Fields & Ryan Nickerson

The Horsenecks

Paul Brown

Contest Winners

Meet our Performers

Paul Brown A musician since childhood, Paul Brown spent years collecting and documenting traditional music in southwestern Virginia and northwest North Carolina, particularly the stunningly rich traditions around Mount Airy in the region known as Round Peak. As a performer, a record producer, and a radio host—formerly of Mount Airy’s famous hometown station, WPAQ, and now reaching a national audience as a newscaster and reporter for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition—Paul Brown has introduced millions to the special world of Round Peak music, and helped to ensure its preservation and vitality for future generations.

Paul spent years learning music directly from some of the last fiddle, banjo, and guitar players to emerge before the age of radio and recordings, including Tommy Jarrell, Gilmer Woodruff, Fields Ward, Robert Sykes, Luther Davis, Verlen Clifton, and Paul Sutphin. Paul studied banjo intensively with Tommy Jarrell, and he learned much from the playing of Wade Ward. He spent considerable time with Wade’s nephew, Fields, a fine guitarist, banjo player and singer. He also played in the Smokey Valley Boys with Benton Flippen, Verlen Clifton, and Paul Sutphin. When Paul Sutphin died, Paul Brown wrote about how Sutphin influenced the musicians: “More than anything else, he would infuse the performance with focused energy, intensity and happiness that drove the rest of us to play harder and better than we thought we could.”

Nokosee Fields & Ryan Nickerson have devoted many years to the old time musical traditions of southern Appalachia and the Midwest, inspired particularly by the sounds and rhythms of the music's earliest recordings.  Along the way their musical interests have broadened to include many other varieties of traditional music, incorporating material from Early Blues, Country, and Cajun into their performances. Born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Nokosee Fields began studying orchestral violin at a young age. After years of learning and performing Classical and Early music, Nokoseehas recently turned his attention to various forms of traditional American music, performing, teaching, and touring professionally.

Travis Stuart began playing the banjo as a boy in Haywood County North Carolina. He is a respected banjo player and multi-instrumentalist known for his rich style and solid accompaniment. Travis has toured the US and internationally with The Stuart Brothers, Dirk Powell Band, Riley Baugus, the Reeltime Travelers, Martha Scanlan and step dancer Ira Bernstein. Travis learned from old-time masters such Red Wilson, the Smathers Family, and Byard Ray.

Besides being a renowned performer, Travis is also dedicated to teaching old-time music. He has taught the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program in Haywood County, NC since 2000.   Travis has taught at music camps around the country and abroad.  He currently teaches Old-Time music with East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies.

Spencer & Rains have performed and taught nationally and internationally, preserving and building upon the traditions of their region. The husband and wife duo are known for their twin fiddle harmony, which is a product of the influence of midwestern Scandinavian fiddlers Tricia heard as a child.  At the same time,  Howard’s distinct repertoire reintroduces listeners to the pre-contest styles of Texas fiddling. That same sense of harmony is in their vocals, as well, which they pull from all manner of American folk music. Both multi-instrumentalists, they are steeped in tradition and are dedicated to the preservation, performance, and teaching of old time music.

Howard and Tricia's recordings can be found on the Old Time Tiki Parlour label where Howard also works as chief graphic designer and Tricia does hand lettering.

Rafe Stefanini is an old-time banjo player, fiddler, guitarist, singer, teacher and violin maker. He was born in Italy and grew up in Bologna. He first visited the United States in the late 1970s and came to live in the U.S. in 1983. He has performed with the Clelia Stefanini, Wildcats, , The Rockinghams and L-7s. He has also performed with Bruce Molsky and guitarist Beverly Smith in at the old-time supergroup Big Hoedown. Most recently, he recorded the fiddle and banjo duet album Holy Smoke! with our festival director David Bragger on Tiki Parlour Recordings.

Clelia Stefanini & Eric Frey Clelia Stefanini is a powerhouse of the Old Time fiddle. She has been a featured fiddler on the Grand Ole Opry and has won numerous awards in the fiddle contest circuit, including the blue ribbon at Clifftop in 2013. As a banjo player, Eric Frey is primarily known for the work he did with the Red Stick Ramblers. His song “Katrina” has been featured in multiple T.V. shows and films, including HBO’s “Treme." Together, they have performed and competed as The Corkburners at numerous festivals, and are always a crowd favorite."

The Horsenecks play hard-hitting and heartfelt Old Time and classic Bluegrass music. Their sound is centered around the pairing of the signature rhythmic Appalachian fiddle style of Oregonian Gabrielle Macrae, (the Macrae Sisters, Hook & Anchor) and the driving yet subtle three-finger banjo playing of Liverpudlian Barry Southern (Tramp Attack, The Loose Moose Stringband.) Gabrielle's playing style is the result of being raised in the Old Time music hotbed of Portland, OR and being exposed to the fiddle traditions of the Southeast through years of traveling to festivals and learning from some of the greatest players in the genre.  Barry's banjo playing ranges from thrilling and high-octane to moody and captivating. Harmony singing and thoughtful song writing bring this Old Time band to the stage with an exciting and varied set of upbeat foot-stompers, new takes on old standards, original compositions and heartfelt harmony singing. Since meeting at a music festival in 2012, Macrae and Southern have been performing, touring and teaching together at venues, festivals, dive bars and back yards across the country and in the UK and Ireland.  They received critical acclaim for their first two albums, 'The Horsenecks' (2016) and 'Fiddlehead' (2018) . 

SLO County Stumblers play red hot old time fiddle tunes along the Central Coast of California. Band members are Casy Meikle: fiddle, Daniel Bohlman: banjo, Stuart Mason: guitar, and Jerry James: bass fiddle