Competition Rules

REGISTRATION: Registration is to be completed back stage the day of the convention. No pre-registration required. Competition slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Refunds will be given to musicians following the individual’s performance upon request.

Please review the Competition Rules, as the registration, scheduling, performance, scoring and refund policies should all reflect and support these rules:

1. Registration is to be completed backstage the day of the Convention.  No pre-registration required.  All contestants must be registered before the posted cutoff time for the categories in which they wish to participate.  

2. An Old Time Band shall consist of not less than three basic string instruments.  One instrument shall be a fiddle and the second instrument shall be an old time style banjo.  Not more than seven musicians shall perform with an Old Time Band.

3. A Bluegrass Band shall consist of not less than three basic string instruments.  One instrument shall be a Bluegrass-style banjo.  The second instrument shall be either a mandolin or fiddle.  Not more than seven musicians shall perform with a Bluegrass Band.

4. Contestants may compete with one band only.

5. Contestants may also compete individually.  Individual and band judging is separate and distinct.  Contestants performing with a band shall not be judged individually while performing with the band. 

6. Youth Individuals must be 16 years of age and under.  Youth Individuals may compete in the Adult categories but Adult individuals may not compete in Youth Individual categories. 

7. Only authentic folk songs will be judged in the folk song competition.  Singer may be accompanied by one other musician performing on a string instrument.  Singer may play an instrument if they so choose.  Just before stage introductions, performer shall inform the emcee of the song selection to be announced in the introduction.

8. Only authentic bluegrass and old time songs will be permitted during the competition.  Bands will be allowed to perform up to two songs including vocal entries.  Copy written music shall not be performed.  Just before stage introductions, performers (both individual and band) shall inform the emcee of the song selections to be announced in the introduction.

9. Youth Individual  and Adult Individual contestants may be accompanied during their performances by a back-up rhythm instrument. The backup player may be either a Youth or Adult performer.

10. Youth Bands must have three or more youth 16 years old and under. They may have one Adult playing rhythm.

11. Individual contestants may perform only once per event in a given category.  For instance, a contestant may only perform once in the Guitar event in the Adult category.  However, Youth contestants may compete on the same instrument in both Youth and Adult categories.  Contestants may compete in no more than 3 individual events, excluding Band and Dance competitions.

12. Individual and band song performances are limited to not more than five (5) minutes.

13. The Dance competition will be before the band competition on Saturday.  Steel tap dancing is permitted.  Individual competition only.  Judging will be based on a. Timing; b.  Technique; c. Ability to project to the audience; d. Level of enjoyment!

14. Instrumental and Singing events will be judged based on: a. Tuning; b. Timing; c. Teamwork; and d. Balance.  

15. Electric, electronic, wind, percussion or any other type of instrument shall not be permitted on stage at any time.  The only exception may be for the harmonica with an advance ruling of the judges.

16. Contestants (individual and band) shall present their correct entry number as they go on stage.  Contestants shall also provide the names of the songs to be performed (see #6 and #7 above).

17. Registration to compete in the Fiddlers Convention includes all contestants’ agreement to allow their performances to be recorded and reproduced free of claim by the Ashe County Arts Council.  The Arts Council may use recorded and reproduced performances to promote the event and its fundraising efforts.  No recording for reproduction shall be made without the express permission of the Ashe County Arts Council.

18. The names of judges will be provided by the Ashe County Arts Council.  Lobbying or otherwise influencing the judging shall not be permitted.  Direct appeals of the judging results shall not be directed to the judges themselves without the agreement of the Ashe County Arts Council and judges.

19. In the event of any stage malfunction (lighting, stage or other occurrence beyond the control of the contestant(s)), contestants will be permitted to repeat the entire performance with no penalty.  In the event of instrument problems (broken string or similar occurrence), contestants will be permitted to repeat the entire performance with no penalty.

20. A full set of prizes will be awarded in all categories with sufficient contestants, with one (1) band being counted as one (1) contestant.

21. All contestants shall be charged for admission as any other attendee and can be reimbursed following the individual contestant’s performance.  A single contestant can only receive a refund for Saturday’s paid admission regardless of how many times the contestant performs on stage.  Accompaniment musicians cannot be reimbursed for admission.  Complimentary tickets shall not be reimbursed.  Youth under the age of twelve shall not be reimbursed.

22. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules is the sole responsibility of the Ashe County Arts Council and its representatives.  Rulings are final.