Competition slots are limited so CLICK HERE to Pre-register
Individual and Band Information
- Pre-registrations must be
received by the Thursday before the festival begins.
- Pre-registered competitors must
physically check in at the registration desk.
- When registering in person, competitors must complete a registration form for each category that they are competing in.
- Individual competitors are limited to two individual events and one band. Flatfoot dance is an exception. Open to all!
- Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis in the limited number of slots, until the category is filled or until the designated cut-off time (15 minutes before event).
There is no Youth Division. The minimum age for all individual competitions is six years of age. Any child under six years of age and wants to perform should contact the Youth Tent Manager.
- Once an event is full, a waiting list will be started.
- Competitors must register a minimum of 15 minutes before scheduled performance time.
- Number of slots for each category is limited based on history, interests, and available time.
- Festival management reserves the right to add numbers based on overall time schedule.
- Open instrumental category is for “individuals” who want to compete with an instrument that is not represented in the other competitions, e.g., Appalachian dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, autoharp, harmonica, bass, dobro, rhythm instruments, etc. The competitor can have one accompanist of a different instrument.
- Folk Song Category is open to singers who perform an authentic folk song that 1) reflects the traditions of folk music, 2) is in the public domain or 3) is an original composition (no copy written songs).
- Bands can register for only one category – Old Time or Bluegrass Band.
- Competitors who place first in a particular category three consecutive years will no longer be eligible to compete in that category. These winners will be recognized as Master Musicians and may be asked to be a featured performer at future festivals.
- Completing the registration process assumes the registrant is familiar with and agrees to abide by the competition rules.
- Competitors must check-in backstage 15 minutes before scheduled category or forfeit their right to compete.
- Order of play in each category will be randomly determined once competitors check in.
- Individual contestants will play either one or two tunes during preliminaries, depending on the number of contestants. Twin Fiddles and bands will play two tunes. Competitors may re-tune between songs if two songs are requested.
- Emcee will announce the name of the contestant or band.
Contestants will announce the name of the song on stage before each song begins.
No other announcements or comments can be made.
- Preliminary competitions determine the top 3 finalists for Individual & top 5 finalists for Band competitions, who will play-off in the evening finals. Finalists will be posted on the main tent after completion of each preliminary competition.
- Competitors will receive a participation ribbon when leaving the stage but
no refund of admission tickets.
Finalist Contest: If an individual or band cannot perform in the evening finals, they need to inform someone at the registration table and they will automatically receive last place.
- Order of performance in the Finals is based on the order posted on the Finals Sheet.
- The same band members who competed in the preliminaries must perform in the finals.
- Individuals or bands need to be backstage 15 minutes before performing or receive last place. Finals begin at 6:30. This competition moves quickly. Be prepared.
- The following awards are made after the Individual and Band Finals’ competition:
1st Place - $100, 2nd Place - $50, 3rd Place - $25
1st Place - $500, 2nd Place - $400, 3rd Place - $300, 4th Place - $200, 5th Place -$100
Competition Rules and Judging Issues
- Only acoustic instruments are allowed.
- In order to encourage and perpetuate traditional music, judging will be based on the following:
Execution: timing, clarity, tuning, tone quality, smoothness of starting and stopping, and level of ability.
Authenticity and Presentation – style, balance, sense of melody, arrangement, and overall expression/soul.
- Scoring will not be based on age, gender, race, appearance, place of residence, or any other non-musical factor.
- Individual category contestants will be allowed one accompanist of a different instrument. Accompanists may play with more than one individual contestant.
- No medleys will be allowed.
- In Old Time Fiddle competition, trick tunes, such as Listen to the Mockingbird will not be permitted.
- Twin Fiddlers competition does not allow an accompanist.
- Judges will determine if a non-traditional instrument qualifies for its category.
- Accidents or disturbances beyond the control of the contestant (such as a broken string/noise) may result in a replay, if the judges so merit.
- Old-Time Bands must consist of at least a banjo, a fiddle and one rhythm instrument with no more than seven members. Bands must play heritage tunes characteristic of the old time tradition and style. Only one vocal number is permitted but is not required.
- Bluegrass Bands must consist of three different instruments with no more than 7 members.
- Competitors that place first in a category for three consecutive years will no longer be eligible to compete in that Music Competition category. These winners will be honored as Master Musicians for that category and although ineligible to compete, will be recognized and asked to perform as a highlight at the next festival.
- Singers will be judged based on feeling, intonation, voice, and appropriateness of the song.
- All songs must be limited to 3 minutes. Judges will penalize for going over allotted time
- All judging is final and cannot be contested. Judging sheets will not be available to contestants.
- Deviations from the rules will result in disqualification.
Competition Categories/Maximum Enrollment
2018 Flatfoot Dance Rules and Judging Issues
Dance judges favor traditional performance over technical performance. Dance contestants will be judged on:
- difficulty and variety of steps
- natural and comfortable dance presentation
- presentation of smooth old time style
Flatfoot Dance competitions will be approximately 30-45 seconds with a live band providing music. This event should consist of authentic old-time dancing in the "true flat-foot style." For example, use of the arms and upper body should be used in a way to support the natural flat-footing rhythm and motions of the feet.
- shoes must be worn
- No taps are allowed.
- Extravagant gestures such as high kicks and rhythms and styles of dance reflecting Clogging, Irish, Break Dancing, Sean-Nos, etc. are subject to penalty.
- Accidents or disturbances beyond the control of the contestant may result in a replay if the judges so merit.
- All judging is final and cannot be contested.
- Scoring will not be based on age, gender, race, appearance, place of residence, or any other non-musical/dance factor.
- Deviations from the rules will result in disqualification.
*Open Category: For individuals who present musical talent reflecting the rich heritage of southern Appalachian music that is not available in other competition categories. Typical areas of competition include: Ballad singing, Harmonica, Mountain Dulcimer, Hammered Dulcimer, Dobro, Bass and Rhythm instruments.
Preliminary Competition Times (Approximate Times)
Final Competition Times
Please Note: The Festival management reserves the right to alter the times based on weather, number of competitors, and other external factors beyond our control.
In addition to the prize money, competitors will
1) receive a participation ribbon
2) have Saturday’s admission fee reimbursed upon request
Dance Judging Issues and Focus
Judges favor traditional performance over technical performance. Mountain Flatfoot dance will be judged on difficulty and variety of steps, natural and comfortable dance presentation, timing, and presentation of smooth old time style. Shoes must be worn. This event should consist of authentic old-time dancing in the “true Flat-foot style”. For example, use of the arms and upper body should be used in a way to support the natural flat-footing rhythm and motions of the feet. Extravagant gestures such as high kicks and rhythms and styles of dance reflecting Clogging, Irish, Break Dancing, Sean-Nos, etc. are subject to penalty or disqualification. No taps are allowed.