contest rules & regs

Updated for 2022

For All Contests:
  • You may register up until halfway through the contest you are entering – possibly later if time allows. Registration will take place at the tent in the stage field beginning at 2 pm on Friday and 10 am on Saturday. You must have purchased a contestant wristband to register.
  • Contestant wristbands are $20 and must be purchased at the gate (or online in advance). If you are attending the convention on Saturday only, a contestant wristband is $15.
  • Everyone entering a contest, excluding children 15 & under and dance-only contestants, must purchase a contestant wristband, even if your admission is free. NOTE: Featured musicians (workshop instructors, showcase participants, dance/concert bands and members) are ineligible to compete during the year in which they are featured. Any such entrants will be disqualified.
  • All songs must be from the public domain, or be your own original music played in traditional style. Absolutely NO copyrighted music.
  • Playing time is limited to four minutes.
  • Judges’ family and/or bandmates are ineligible to compete in the contest being judged by their family member or bandmate.
  • Acoustic, non-electrical instruments only
  • All sales final – no exchanges or refunds. Lost, damaged or mutilated wristbands will not be replaced or reimbursed.
  • By performing, all contestants agree that the festival may record and reproduce performances free of claim by contestants.
  • Judges’ decisions are final.
Specific to Band Contest:
  • Bands will register under band name, listing all individual members
  • All band members must have purchased a contestant wristband
  • Fiddle and banjo players may only play with one band. Other players may play in other band configurations as needed. Individual members may enter as many individual contests as they like.
  • To be eligible to win, bands must play both Friday and Saturday nights.
  • To qualify, a band must consist of at least 3 different instruments, one being a fiddle or banjo. Up to seven members allowed in band.
  • Band genres will be graded on the merit within their genre/playing style, regardless of category combinations.
  • Bands may only enter one category.
  • There are no age restrictions for bands.
Specific to Individual Contests:
  • Each individual contestant may have one musical accompaniment including folk song. Backup instrument will be different from contestant instrument, and will not be considered in grading criteria.
  • Instrument genre categories will be judged upon the merit of their playing style; the categories are collapsed for prize disbursements only (increased prize amounts).
  • Dobros and dulcimers enter the “Other Stringed Instrument” Category on Friday.
  • The children’s individual instrument categories are for contestants age 15 and under. These competitors receive free admission/contest entry. Children under 15 may enter an adult contest by purchasing an adult contestant wristband. They may ONLY enter either the children’s or adult contests, not both.
Specific to Dance Contests:
  • If Dance is the only contest you are entering, you do not need a contestant wristband. This is to allow for last minute decisions.
  • Adult Dancers will perform after band competition Saturday night.
  • Youth Dancers will perform after youth individual competition on Saturday.
  • No taps in dance.

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