When people listen to songs from the 1960s, they might consider it “old” music.
The upcoming Florida Old Time Music Championship also features music from the ’60s.
The 1860s, that is.
“It’s the kind of music that people who lived during pioneer times in early Florida would have actually played,” said Jessica Budin, office manager for the Pioneer Florida Museum & Village, where the event will be on April 10 and April 11.
Old time music is a genre of North American folk music that contains elements from the European countries from where the settlers came. It is characterized by acoustic string instruments such as the fiddle, guitar or banjo and can be instrumental or include vocals. Listeners might hear some similarities with bluegrass music, but old time music actually pre-dates that genre.
The Florida Old Time Music Championship is an opportunity to bring performers together and celebrate historic music, and the event itself is getting up there in years. Now in its 33rd year, it continues to bring musicians and fans of this style of music from across Florida, and even some from out of state as well.
The event began at the museum, but relocated after about a decade. A few years ago it moved back, and the creators of the competition are happy to see it return to such an appropriate venue.
“It’s been great,” said Jim Strickland, who still runs the event with Ernie Williams. “They love having us, and we love being there. Our stage is the front porch of the Overstreet House (on display at the museum). It’s a beautiful setting.”
Playing old time music on a front porch is especially authentic, since that’s often where it was performed. Another popular venue for this kind of music was church, Strickland said.
The music brought people together and was a main source of entertainment, he said.
While the Florida Old Time Music Championship will have competitions across many categories, Strickland said it’s not a high-pressure event.
When they’re not onstage, performers might get together for an impromptu jam session.
Groups also form on the spot to enter a contest. There’s even a chance a musician may perform as a backup player for a competitor.
“It’s a very friendly, non-threatening atmosphere for a contest,” Strickland said.
The event will also feature music professionals as special guests.
Recording artists Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones, a married couple known for their old time talents, will perform three sets over the two-day event. Jones will also host a guitar workshop on Saturday morning.
While the music naturally appeals to fans of old time, Budin said that the event will also appeal to people who aren’t familiar with the genre. The songs performed are authentic to the time period, but have been passed down from generation to generation and still exist even in today’s culture. It might be a melody or a beat from a commercial, or perhaps something heard as a child, but elements of old time music will be familiar to many listeners.
“Really, anybody who enjoys music will find something that they like to listen to out here,” she said.
The Florida Old Time Music Championship
Where: The Pioneer Florida Museum & Village, at 15602 Pioneer Museum Road in Dade City
When: 7 p.m. on April 10, and 10 a.m. on April 11. The banjo and fiddle finals will be at 7 p.m., April 11
The cost is $5 on April 10, and $10 on April 11. Parking is free.
For more information, call (352) 567-0262 or visit FOTMC.org.
Published April 8, 2015