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Berkeley Farmers' Market String Band Contest 

When: Sat., Sept. 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 2009
Price: free

Historically, Berkeley has always been a locus for bluegrass, folk, singer-songwriters, and old-timey music. It's home to free folk festivals, historic venues like the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse (which just relocated to the Addison Street corridor), long-standing "radical folk" outfits of the Rebecca Riots strain, and more string bands than you could shake a stick at. This weekend, twenty such groups will gather at CivicCenterPark (2151 Martin Luther King Jr. Way) for the Berkeley Farmers' Market String Band Contest. Held in conjunction with the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, the event will allow bands to perform two songs apiece for a panel of judges, who will grant wooden nickels to winners, exchangeable for fresh organic produce at the market. Bands may dabble in a variety of genres (jug, Tex-Mex, klezmer, polka, Cajun, swing, Appalachian), so long as they include at least two musicians and at least one fiddle or banjo. Held Saturday, Sept. 12, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., the event will kick off with a youth showcase for the under-eighteen set, with awards to all who participate. The Old Time Music Convention runs Sept. 9-13, and includes jam sessions, workshops, panel discussions, a film screening, community dances, and concerts held at indoor and outdoor venues throughout downtown Berkeley. BerkeleyOldTimeMusic.org


— Rachel Swan

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