Fiddlers Crossing opened it’s doors on April 17, 2010, just four months after the closing of the much beloved Mama Hillybean’s Cafe here in Tehachapi. We were devastated at its closing and vowed that something had to be done to keep live acoustic music concerts and open mic nights alive in Tehachapi. The building at 206 East F Street had, for a number of years, housed Mountain Music. In fact, it was once in the very same space as Fiddlers Crossing is today. By 2009 and early 2010, the South end of the building was the home of the Tehachapi Arts Center (now the Tehachapi Treasure Trove) and Mountain Music had moved to the North end of the building along with the Christian Science Society and reading room. When the Arts Center decided to move to another part of town, we had an empty space that was pretty much un-rentable! The heat didn’t work, the air conditioning barely ran and was quite noisy when it did, the electrical wiring was unsafe, and the roof leaked like a sieve every time it rained or snowed! We looked at this space and figured, if we couldn’t rent it to anyone else, we’d use it ourselves for something. “Of course!”, Debby and I shouted in unison, “we’ll make it a venue to fill the hole left in our hearts by the closing of Hillybean’s! When we have the money, we’ll fix it up. In the meantime, we’ll make do somehow.” And so, Fiddlers (no apostrophe!) Crossing was born. We used materials, chairs and tables at hand, along with volunteer help to do the painting, sewing, picture hanging and wiring. Amazingly enough, in the Fall of 2011, the money did, indeed, become available to make all the needed repairs on the building. (see gallery below) Since then, we are warm in the winter, cool in the summer and dry inside when it’s wet outside. And the building won’t burn down from an electrical short either. Amazing!
Since we opened, we have featured an ever-more amazing lineup of nationally and internationally touring musicians and singers in our concert series. Our standards are, quite honestly, very high. We only present music we feel passionate about. We will never book a show just to fill a date…never. If we don’t love it, it doesn’t get booked, period. Fiddlers Crossing is really just an extension of our living room. (and if you could see our living room most of the time, you’d understand why we don’t present our shows there!) It’s, basically, a house concert done in a commercial space. The refreshments are included in the price of admission. Once inside, you simply help yourself to our freshly ground and brewed coffees, teas and all manner of “goodies” and enjoy the show. There are no phones ringing, (in fact, we ask that you show your respect for the performers and other audience members by turning your cell phones completely off while attending our shows) or espresso machines hissing. This is what is commonly referred to as a “listening room”.
Most of our shows take place in our “intimate” (that’s a euphemism for small) venue. Occasionally, when we need more capacity, we present shows in either The BeeKay Theatre or St. Jude’s Anglican Church. Someday, when our audience is of such a size that we are regularly turning folks away at the door, and the money, again, becomes available, we hope to break out the rear wall and expand the place. As my mother would say, “From your mouth to God’s ear!”
In addition to our concert series (usually two per month), we also do a classic coffee house-style “open mic night.” Folks come from all over Tehachapi and elsewhere around the state to share their talents with our friendly, supportive crowd. We have built quite a stable of “regulars”. A family, if you will. Musicians, singers and songwriters, poets, storytellers, mimes, comedians, actors, ranters and ravers all converge at Fiddlers Crossing every Wednesday night at 7:00pm. Some just come to enjoy the show. For $6.00, ($3.00 for students and kids under 12 with guardian are free), it’s a screamin’ good deal! A cup of coffee at Starbucks will set you back 4 bucks and they don’t even entertain you!
Every “First Friday”(unless we have a concert), we have a musical showcase evening. That means no cover charge at all though we do encourage tipping the musicians, of course! Same coffee, tea and goodies and live music provided by musicians from near and far. The acts get more exciting all the time!
We operate on the proverbial “shoestring” at Fiddlers Crossing. Virtually all of the money we take in for concerts, open mic nights and rentals of the space goes right back into the business, paying the utility bills and insurance, printing the posters, flyers and brochures, buying the coffee, tea and “goodies”, paying performance rights license fees and more. One of the keys to our continuing success is our volunteer staff. Folks like Terri Asher, Kathleen Wolf, David Butler, Kale Dumler, and Susie Hastings give of their time and expertise to keep things running smoothly at Fiddlers Crossing. Thank you, one and all!
And where would we be without the multi-talented (and generous to a fault) Gary Mazzola, who designs all of our posters, flyers and brochures? We are constantly being complimented on these by audience and performer alike. A number of our performers have expressed interest in using Gary’s work to help promote their shows at other venues as well! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Gary!!
This website was designed by Catherine Hazard. Thank you, Cat!!
Our audience has built slowly but steadily over the years. Once folks experience what we have to offer, they generally come back and become part of our family. That’s the way we feel about our crowd. It’s why we call ourselves “a gathering place”. While we’re all enjoying a concert, an open mic night or “First Friday”, we leave our politics, religion and problems outside and simply enjoy each other’s company and share the experience. Isn’t that what “community” is really all about, after all?
updated January, 2017
Peter Cutler & Deborah Hand-Cutler, owners
“Thanks for your hard work, your good feelings, your kindness to me, and especially for being a force for acoustic music in California. I am grateful and so are many many other people!”
Dave Stamey, Cowboy Entertainer
“I love love love everything about Fiddlers Crossing. …an amazing place run by….and for….amazing musical people.”
Ray Sadolsky, bassist who played with Freebo on Oct.24, 2014
“I’m so glad there is this kind of venue in Tehachapi. Keep up the great work, Fiddler’s Crossing”.
Bill Elliot, audience member