General Rules for All Events
- The contest rules and regulations may be amended at the judges’ discretion.
- Judges’ decisions are final.
- Judges are not permitted to enter or play in any category.
- No electrical instruments or drums will be permitted in any category.
- No contestant will be permitted to register for any category after the registration for that category has closed. After registering, all contestants will draw for position at the staging area. No exceptions will be made.
- Contestant must be present and ready for entry on stage when name is called from staging area. Late arrivals and no-shows will be eliminated. Allowances may be made for broken strings and other happenings judged to be beyond contestant’s control.
- Judges will not be allowed to advise contestants in their selection of tune to be played.
Rules for Banjo, Dobro, Dulcimer, Guitar and Mandolin
- Contestant will perform 2 tunes.
- Contestant may perform unaccompanied or with one or two accompanists.
- Should the accompanying instrument be the same as the lead instrument, make sure that the accompaniment does not overpower the lead instrument, or points will be lost.
- Banjo – Five-stringed only, Scruggs’ type tuners not allowed. Fretless fingerboard is permitted.
- Guitar – Only 6-string acoustic guitar.
- Mandolin – Only 8-stringed standard fingerboard is allowed. No cross tuning of instrument permitted during performance.
- Rhythm and Timing (20 points) – The rhythm and timing should be even and consistent.
- Creativity (20 points) – The judges will listen for minor variations and improvisations. However, the creativity should not be so excessive as to destroy the basic melody line of the tune.
- Authentic Performance Style (20 points) – Excessive and indiscriminate changes in a tune, making the performance unclear or unrecognizable, will result in a loss of points.
- Expression (20 points) – The judges will listen for the “feeling” that the contestant puts into the performance. Flat, mechanical, and unfeeling performances will result in lost points, as will excessive “showmanship.”
- Execution (20 points) – The judges will listen for the tonal quality and clarity of the performance, together with the general command of the instrument.
In summary, each judging category has a potential of 20 points, for a possible score of 100 points overall. High/low scores will not be thrown out. All contestants are urged to consider the placement of microphones and the efforts of the persons responsible for the sound system. Both are there to help the contestants be heard clearly by the judges and audience alike. The judges will judge exactly what they hear. An instrument too close or too far away from a microphone could distort or drop out the sound, resulting in a loss of points. Please make sure your instruments are “miked” properly prior to your performance.