Fiddle Contest Rules

Please read through the following before registering below for the fiddle contest.

Advance entry is encouraged but not required, however, all contestants must be registered before the preannounced closing time. Before the contest starts, the Registrar will be pleased to answer your questions. Judges’ decisions are final. Anything not covered in the Rules will be decided by the judges. Emcee will introduce the fiddler and accompanist. Contestants are asked to conduct themselves with common courtesy and a spirit of fair play. Contestants exhibiting inappropriate behavior toward the audience, other contestants, officials, or sponsors may be excluded from future contests.

Small Fry: 8 & under. Youth: Ages 12 & under. Junior: Ages 18 & under. Adults: Ages 18 and up.
Order of play is determined by drawing numbers and will be announced within 15 minutes of close of registration. Contestants not on stage within three minutes of being announced will be disqualified and the next fiddler called.

Fiddlers will play a hoedown (reel/breakdown) and a tune of choice (other than a hoedown) for a total of two tunes. No tunes are banned and all styles of old-time fiddle are welcome. Contestants may restart tune in event of a broken string or unavoidable problem. Contestant must play by ear or from memory. No sheet music is allowed in the stage area. Contestants must have their instruments tuned prior to going on stage, otherwise points will be deducted. A four minute playing time will be strictly adhered to.

Contestants may have one accompanist, to be furnished by contestant. Any suitable acoustic instrument is welcome, for example, piano, guitar, mandolin, banjo (4 or 5 string) cello, reed organ, accordion, tenor guitar or bass. Electrified instruments are not allowed. Contestant may have a second violin as backup, but the second fiddler must play chords or backup (no melody or twin fiddling). Solo fiddling is welcome.

Sample score sheets are available. Performance will be judged using traditional old-time fiddling criteria including intonation, skill, timing control, rhythm suitability for selected tune, and overall ability. Judging criteria include appropriateness of accompaniment. In the event of a tie, or at the judges’ discretion, callbacks will be held. While not required, contestants are encouraged to have additional selections prepared in the event of a fiddle off.

Suggestions for improving the contest are most welcome and may be sent to: LIFMF Fiddle Contest, c.o. Melanie Darragh, 51386 Whippoorwill Rd., Bemidji, MN 56601

Register here for the LIFMF Fiddle Contest.