Topanga Festival falls to California wildfires

The Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival near Thousand Oaks, CA is the latest California icon to fall victim to the raging wildfires north of Los Angeles.

Since 1990, the festival has been hosted at the Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, a property overseen by The National Park Service. The Ranch had famously served as the set for western-themed TV dramas like Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, Gunsmoke, and Westworld, and for specific episodes of The X-Files and The Dukes of Hazzard.

A conflagration billed as the Woolsey Fire burned through the Augora Hills region where the ranch is located last week, and destroyed most of the structures on the property. It was a vert fast-moving fire that swept through before any attempt at slowing its progress was possible.

But the festival is determined to go on! Organizers had faced several moves since their first event in 1961, and are currently in discussions with the Park Service in hopes of finding another suitable location. But it isn’t likely that anything will be determined until after this fire season is over, as no one knows what will be left standing until all the flames are extinguished.

Topanga is planning on being able to find a new home in plenty of time to host their 59th annual event on May 19, 2019. Since launching, it has always been held on the third Sunday in May.

More information will be shared when the details are known.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.