California State Old Time Fiddlers Association-- Western Open Fiddle Championships

The Western Open serves two broad purposes: to provide a venue where musicians can have their skills judged and compare their progress over time; and more importantly, to keep old time acoustic music alive and available to the communities we live in.

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Address: PO Box 101
Red Bluff, CA 96080
County: Tehama
Phone Number: 530-527-6127
Wherever people were gathered-in parlors or on back porches; at family get-togethers, barn-raisings, or schoolhouse dances, making music was our forefather's primary entertainment. A fiddler was often called upon to play from memory the tunes taught to him by a father, uncle, or friend, They danced Irish jigs, English quadrilles, Scottish hornpipes, waltzes, and schottisches, all of which originated in the Old Country and were passed down from generation to generation. Sometimes these gatherings included fiddle contests, and there are reports of fiddle conventions and contests in the mid 1700's. Their popularity spread, and now you can find fiddle contests in every one of these United States and Canada. The California State Old Time Fiddle Association (CSOTFA) was organized in Oroville in 1969 as a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit, whose mission is to educate about and perpetuate the art and cultural heritage of fiddle music. The Western Open Fiddle Championships were founded in 1982 in Redding as the "performance arm" of District 6 of the CSOTFA. On October 25-27, 2018, we will celebrate our 36th annual contest at the Red Bluff Elks Lodge, having moved to Red Bluff 22 years ago. The Western Open provides motivation and a showcase for youngsters of all ages who practice all year for this event. We draw contestants and audience members from throughout the United States and Canada to what is one of the largest and most important fiddle contests in the Western United States. When we reflect upon the 36 years of the Western Open, it is the people who have made it so special. Many of the all-volunteer members of the Western Open Committee have been on board for every contest. We've watched some of our "fiddle kids" on their journeys as they competed all the way through the eight fiddle divisions from the Peewee (ages 8 and under) to the Open (any age). Some of those "kids" are now fiddle teachers themselves, and it is with great joy that we watch the children follow in their parents' footsteps. Several of our "fiddle kids" are enjoying careers in music that began with opportunities to perform on the Western Open stage. With the demise of music programs in our public schools, we are proud to be a part of sustaining the art and cultural heritage of old time fiddle music.