Next Up: A Little Old Contest in Hallettsville

One of the largest in the nation. Starting April 21 with a jam session at 6 pm, April 22 with Anything Goes at 6 pm, and April 23 & 24 at approximately 9 & 9:30 am with fiddle contest beginning in earnest.

Godley Contest Falls Through

Unfortunately, plans for the hoped-for Godley contest which was forming up to take place in May have fallen through. Thank you Jacob Johnson for your efforts to try and get this contest going.

TOTFA, By the Numbers

TOTFA currently has 142 members
Bank balance, as of April 4: $5,565.47

Llano Fiddle Fest – the Perfect Lead-off Batter

The 2016 baseball season opened the very same weekend as the Llano Fiddle Fest opened the 2016 fiddle contest season. For those of you not so familiar with baseball, the lead-off batter sets the stage. Being the first up to bat, the lead-off batter’s primary duty is to get on base any way he can: hit, walk, get hit by a pitch, or bunt. Getting to first base sets the stage for good things to happen with the batters that follow. A good lead-off batter is a valued member of any baseball team.

If I were the manager of a baseball team that had fiddle contests as players, I’d choose the Llano Fiddle Fest as my lead-off batter. John Caballero and his team have molded it into a series of events that are not to be missed.

The 2016 Fiddle Fest began Friday night April 1 with the Air Fiddle Contest and the Anything Goes Fiddle Contest. On Saturday the fiddle contest itself was held at the historic LanTex theater in downtown Llano. The weekend wrapped up with a Sunday service in which all fiddlers were invited to attend and play Amazing Grace.

During the fiddle contest, the LanTex theater was filled with enthusiastic audience members enjoying everything the fiddlers and accompanists had to offer. They also enjoyed the boxes of Fiddle Faddle being tossed out parade style, a Llano Fiddle Fest tradition. If you missed it this year, mark the date on your calendar for next year. 1st weekend in April. Plan to get there Friday evening and stay through to Sunday. Enjoy the bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, and the sound of fiddling. It’s a great start to the fiddle contest season.

(The following was written prior to the Llano Fiddle Fest)

I hope everyone had a good winter. Glad that spring is here and I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at Llano. The TOTFA Board of Directors is wide open to suggestions from members on ways to raise funds for a convention. The recent fund raiser that was held in San Marcos evidently was not the way to do it. Elijah Stone put a great deal of time and effort into putting it together. He secured some very good donated items for prizes, and had entertainment lined up throughout the day. Twelve TOTFA members showed up, (three were directors) and the money raised was $301.00. Thanks to those of you who did come out to support us and enjoy the day with us. And thank you, Elijah, for your hard work and time put into this event.

Over the years, there have been a handful of members who have been awarded the honor of "lifetime membership" for their contribution to, or continued support of Texas fiddling. Marshall and Mary Stockton have long been supporters of Texas fiddling, beginning when their son, Wade, was a young kid. Marshall probably wore out a couple of cars while Wade was growing up and competing in contests throughout Texas and beyond. Most of our members are aware that we lost Wade last July in a tragic car accident. He was a vibrant member of our music family and supportive member of our organization. In honor of their cherished son and for the support that they have exhibited for TOTFA, and fiddling in general over many years, the board of directors and I would like to extend this honor to Mary and Marshall.

See you at Llano,


The Devil's Box available for purchase here!The Devil's Box is a fast paced jam-packed look at the world of contest fiddling. Every year contestants from all over the United States flock to the town of Hallettsville, Texas, to compete for the title of best Texas-style fiddler. Featuring performances from some of the greatest legends of American roots music, The Devil’s Box explores the beginnings of the art form and showcases the rising talents that will dominate the traditional music scene for years to come. The Devil’s Box is an instant classic, filled with fantastic music and great family fun. The 3-disc set includes:

Disc 1: The Devil's Box documentary, an 84-minute look at the world of contest fiddling and all of the major players involved. Bonus features include an extended history section of Texas-style, a four-minute movie of the Hallettsville Bar-BQ Cook-Off, Song Writers Serenade featurette, and an interview with the director Jason Hammond and producer Beth Jasper

Disc 2: The Devil's Box Bonus Disc features 42 complete fiddle tunes played by contestants from around the country as well as performances by Larry Franklin, Texas Shorty, and many, many more.

Disc 3 The Lost Benny Thomasson Tapes: This disc is a wonderful hour-long interview with the master himself, Benny Thomasson. Benny tells the story of Texas-style as only he knows it and plays 19 tunes like only he can. This interview from 1976 has been cleaned up and remastered and is the ideal tutorial for any fiddler who wants to hear the tunes exactly as Benny played them and learn some fascinating fiddle history along the way.

To buy the 3-disc set, click the "Buy Now" button below. You may pay with a credit card or a PayPal account. Thank you for your support! And spread the word about The Devil's Box - the happy documentary!


April 2: Llano
April 23-24: Hallettsville*
May 7: Groesbeck
May 28: Athens*
September 9: Alvarado
October 1: Bowie
October 8: Seguin
October 8-9: Greenville*
October 15: Gilmer
October 22: Crockett*
November 12: Glen Rose
TBA: TOTFA Convention

*non-association contest


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