There's nothing more American than the banjo and fiddle, mostly because the twangy instruments were introduced by the people who made this country what it is: immigrants. Old-time fiddle tunes, bluegrass music, country blues and folk ballads can be traced back to both European settlers and West African slaves, so it makes sense to throw an annual banjo and fiddle festival in Southern California, a national microcosm where multiple cultures have converged to create a lifestyle defined by free spirits and creativity. The Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival began in the hippie enclave of Topanga Canyon way back in 1961, but it has since moved to Paramount Ranch, which provides an appropriate backdrop of Western movie sets for an even more down-home experience. The beloved festival and family event features nonstop music from more than 100 performers, plus prize drawings as well as artisans selling everything from straw hats and needlework to jewelry, leather and metal crafts. With three stages, a dance barn and goodies galore, the festival promises to lift our heads away from our smartphones and sweep us to up in the music. Paramount Ranch, 2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills; Sun., May 18, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; $20, $15 teens/seniors, free 10 and under; free parking. (818) 382-4819,

Sun., May 18, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., 2014
(Expired: 05/18/14)

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