Live Americana, Bluegrass, Folkloric, Old-Time Music; Jamming Areas, Handmade Crafts and Musical Instrument Vendors;  Living History Exhibitors, Performance Contests and Step Dance Competitions and Workshops for all ages; Instrument Petting Zoo for Kids, Food Trucks.


Kids 9 and under are free!

The 60th Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival is Sunday, May 16, 2021 at the Paramount Ranch


2903 Cornell Road

Agoura Hills, CA 91301




T: 818 382-4819


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© 2019 Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival.  All Rights reserved.

Official Rules and Guidelines of the


Contestants will submit lyrics and one MP3 file containing the recording of the composition they wish to submit.  The Contestant must be present for the performance of their original song on Sunday May 17, 2020 at the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest.

The submitted song must be performed by (1) one vocalist and (1) one instrument. The vocalist and the instrument player can be the same person.  The same instrumentation must be used for the MP3 and the live performance.

The Songwriter may select another person to either sing or play the song. 

The Songwriter needs to pay the $20 contestant fee to be considered. After submitting this form you will be directed to pay the fees.

After the fees are received the registrar will ask you to submit one (1) file with lyrics (PDF or MSWord)  and one (1) MP3 file of the song to before April 20th.


To be eligible, all entries must:

  1. Finish the online registration, pay the $20 contestant fee online prior to May 1st, 2021

  2. Not contain explicit lyrics

  3. Not be deemed offensive by the judges

  4. Not be a family member of TBFC board members, employees or stakeholders

  5. Be a clear performance that exhibits both effort and skill

  6. Be an original song composed by the writer, who has full rights to publish the recording

  7. Have full song lyrics sheet provided (A total of five (5) copies)

  8. Have the majority of the lyrics in English

9. Songs may be any length, but live performance of the song can not exceed four minutes. 

10. Only one entry per songwriter.



HOW TO ENTER. An online registration for the writer of the song and a non-refundable $20 Contestant fee is required to enter the songwriting contest.  We do not accept mail-in entries.



The Contest is open to any amateur songwriter.  An amateur is defined as songwriter who has not earned more than $5,000 from songwriting related royalties, advances, or works for hire. Any TBFC Board member, independent contractors for TBFC and their immediate families or employees of sponsors are not eligible. By submitting, you are agreeing that you are an amateur as described above and that you are not employed by or affiliated with TBFC or any of the contest sponsors and that you have not received any income from TBFC in the past two years. If you are under 18 years of age, you must have permission and clearance to enter the Contest from your parent or legal guardian.



All entries must be the original work of contestant. 

Contestant may enter only one song. (In future years we will consider multiple entries.) 

All applicable U.S. copyright laws apply, and all rights to submitted material remain entirely with the copyright holder. TBFC acquires no rights to any works submitted.

Entry fees are non-refundable. 

If selected, the performance of the qualifying song at the TBFC festival on May 17, 2020 is mandatory for the writer or another person assigned by the writer. 



The Carl Gage Songwriter Contest is a talent and skilled-based event. All entries are judged based on the quality of the lyrics and the musical composition. 

All judges are prominent musicians, radio hosts, music instructors, and music industry professionals. All entries will be judged on originality, lyrics, composition, melody and the song’s overall craft. The judging criteria includes: 1) Theme: How well the song/lyrics communicate an underlying message or emotion.  2) Style/Delivery: How well the melody and expression transform the lyrics into an effective performance.

All decisions by judges are final and not subject to inquiry or appeal. The winner(s) of the contest will be announced at the stage at the end of the contest.  TBFC will not release judges’scores nor provide personal evaluations. 



Contestants will sign Indemnity and release form before the performance. Signature on entry form constitutes that the song submitted is an original work and releases the TBFC Songwriting Contest, its judges, sponsors, and the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival from all liability. Entry also constitutes permission to use winner’s name, photos, videos and likeness for future advertising and publicity without compensation. By entering, entrants agree that they have no right to bring, and covenant not to bring any claim, action, or proceeding of any kind or nature whatsoever against TBFC, or any other sponsoring organization or judge in connection with this competition.



The winning song will win:  $300, a free recording of the winning entry at Rum & Humble Studios in Los Angeles, a live performance on the Wildwood Flower Radio Hour on KXLU.  The May 17, 2020 performance will be posted on the official TBFC YouTube channel.

Our deep thank you to the Songmakers for sponsoring this contest.

Carl Gage