Fiddle Contest

6th Annual Folk School Fiddle Contest

Sunday, September 25, 2016

as part of the St. Louis Folk & Roots Festival

The Stage at KDHX

Featuring: Youth (17 & under), Adult, & Senior Divisions (60 & over)

$1,000 in Cash Prizes 

Registration begins at 12pm 

Contest begins at 1pm.

Food & drink available for purchase

Live music at Noon  w/ The Hamstrings


Fiddle Contest Rules

1. The decisions of the judges will be final.


2. Registration will begin one hour prior to the beginning of the contest and close once the contest has begun. Contestants will draw their order of play after they register and be expected to show up on time for their round. If you are coming to the contest and have an unexpected delay, you may have a friend register and draw your order of play for you. If you do not arrive to play by the time designated for you, you will not be allowed to play in the contest.

3. Contestants will not be required to pay an entry fee.

4. Contestants may play in one division only.
5. Contestants will be asked to play no more than three tunes and no more than one round. The three tunes will be a hoedown (breakdown, reel, or hornpipe), waltz, and tune of choice. The tune of choice may be any traditional type of fiddle tune (hoedown, waltz, rag, polka, jig, western swing tune, bluegrass tune etc.).  If there are a large amount of contestants, the judges have the power to eliminate the waltz and/or tune of choice from the contest round in order to allow for timely completion of the contest.
6. If a tune has been played once by a contestant it may not be played by that particular contestant again in the contest.
7. If there is a tie, contestants may be asked to play one additional tune in order to resolve the tie. The judges will be allowed to pick the type of tune required for the playoff. If the contest is running over time the judges are allowed to decide the tie by vote.
8. Contestants are encouraged to keep the time of their performances down to a reasonable length and eliminate unnecessary talking, other than announcing tunes. Contestants who play for more than 10 minutes may be penalized at the discretion of the judges.
9. Contestants will be allowed no more than two accompanists, no more than one of which can be the same instrument. Accompanists are not allowed to take leads, play the melody in unison, or play a harmony part with the fiddler.
10. No preference will be given to any style of fiddling over another, as long as fiddlers stay within traditional fiddle styles. Examples of these styles could include: old-time, bluegrass, Texas style, Missouri style, western swing, Irish, Canadian, and Appalachian fiddling. Fiddlers should ask the judges if they are in doubt about what constitutes a traditional style and use their best judgement based on the list previously presented.
11. Improvising in an acceptable fashion based on the style of fiddling being played is allowed, however the basic tune must be represented as well. Excessive or inappropriate improvising and a lack of melody may be penalized by the judges.
12. Fiddlers and accompanists must play on acoustic instruments.
13. Cross tuning is allowed as long as it does not interfere with the contest time limit.
14. The judges will be placed in front of the stage and in front of the crowd. There will be three judges that are qualified and have experience with fiddle contests. If there is anything a contestant is unsure of regarding the rules, they are encouraged to consult with the judges prior to the start of the contest. Once the contest begins only those affiliated with the contest may speak to the judges until the conclusion of the event.
15. If a contestant or accompanist breaks a string, the contestant has the option to stop and start over once the string has been changed. However, only the tune being played when the string broke may be played again.
16. Contestants will be given a score out of 100 possible points per tune based on the following four criteria: style/uniqueness, tone/intonation, rhythm/timing, and feel/drive.
17. Point penalties or disqualifications as a consequence of breaking the rules will be decided by the judges.
18. Prizes for each division will be handed out at the conclusion of the contest. All fiddlers are expected to be present and on standby when prizes for their division are announced. If a fiddler is called up for a prize and is not present, the prize may be given to the next fiddler in order of placement.
19. Inappropriate behavior can and will result in removal from the contest premises and possibly being banned from future contests held by the Folk School.