GENERAL RULES AND REGULATIONS
Each contest is open to anyone except the first place winners of that contest from last year. However, those winners may enter and win any other contests in which they did not take first place last year.
Contestants must play only acoustic instruments. No electrical instruments will be allowed (Exception: band contestants can have an electric bass guitar to plug into the provided DI box). Contestants may have one rhythm instrument for accompaniment. A medley of tunes is not acceptable. Contestants may not speak on stage. Violation of any of these rules will result in a disqualification.
In an effort to judge the contestants objectively and equally, the following criteria will be considered by the judges:
First and foremost: rank score 1 through X where X=total number of registrants. In the case of a tie between judges “ranked” scorecards, the point system below will be used as a tiebreaker
Rhythm and Timing (25 points)
The judges will look for even, consistent rhythm. Rushing, dragging, or unevenness in performance will result in lost points.
Execution (25 points)
The judges will look for tone quality, dynamics, pitch, and general command of the instrument. Bad tone and muffled notes will result in lost points.
Creativity (25 points)
The judges will look for variations, improvisations, and “good licks”. Repetitious performance will result in lost points.
Expression (25 points)
The judges will look for the feeling that the contestant puts into the performance. Flat, mechanical, unfeeling performance will result in lost points.
SPECIFIC RULES FOR CONTESTS
(also see general rules)
All instrument competitions to take place on the Doug DuBois Harmony Stage (South Stage).
All band contests to take place on Stage 7 (North Stage).
State Banjo Championship
Contestants will play two instrumental numbers, on a five string banjo, in any style.
see full band competition rules and regulations HERE
NOTE: Band competition registration is full for 2023
State Fiddle Championship
Open to contestants of any age. Each contestant will play a hoedown, a waltz and a tune of his/her choice, in that order. (In the event that 15 contestants register for the contest, the waltz will be dropped from the competition. Each contestant will play two tunes, a hoedown and tune of choice.)
Youth Fiddle Championship
This is a separate contest for youth (under age 16) fiddlers who do not wish to compete in the open competition. Each contestant will play a hoedown, a waltz and a tune of his/her choice, in that order. (In the event that 15 contestants register for the contest, the waltz will be dropped from the competition. Each contestant will play two tunes, a hoedown and tune of choice.)
State Finger-Style Guitar Championship
Contestants will play two instrumental numbers in any traditional style. Alternative tunings are allowed.
State Flat-Pick Guitar Championship
Flat-pick guitar is defined as playing fiddle tunes on a guitar using a flat-pick. Contestants will play two instrumental numbers in any traditional style.
State Mandolin Championship
Contestants will play two instrumental numbers in any traditional style.
State Miscellaneous Acoustic Instruments Championship
Two numbers, on the same instrument, will be played in the contest. Selections should be in a style traditional for the instrument. Contestants may have one rhythm instrument for accompaniment. An individual may enter the Miscellaneous Acoustic Instruments Contest only once per year; a contestant may not enter multiple times in the same year, playing a different instrument each time.
No distinction is made among contestants in regular judging on the basis of age; individuals, under age 16, have the same eligibility requirements as all other contestants in the Championship categories. In addition, individuals, under age 16 are judged for the Youth Award. A special youth judge watches all of the youth contestants as they compete. The contestant in this age group, who did not win the Youth Award last year, and receives the highest score in an instrumental contest, in this separate round of judging, will receive the Youth Award. Scores in the Harmony Singing and Youth Fiddle Contest do not count toward the Youth Award.
*Note: oversight of any of the rules for any individual contest could result in disqualification. Contestants are responsible for their own adherence to the rules as published.
CLARIFICATIONS BASED ON QUESTIONS FROM CONTESTANTS
- In all instrument contests, only one rhythm instrument in total is allowed for accompaniment.
- The back-up player may change instruments between each selection played by the contestant.
- The back-up player in the finger-style and flatpicking contests may play a guitar. Back-up players in the mandolin, fiddle and banjo contests may not play the same instrument as the contestant. For example, the accompanist in the fiddle contest may not play another fiddle.
Notable rule change from previous years: Alternative tunings may now be used in the fiddle contests.
Band Competition Rules
Who may enter: To enter, a band needs a Kansas State FidPick Band Competition Ticket. Tickets Tickets will be made available at least one month before the competition day. Only 8 tickets will be sold during our inaugural year and the first 8 bands to contact FidPick and express interest in entering the competition will be eligible to purchase. If tickets are sold out, your band can join the waiting list by emailing email@example.com – if any bands that have purchased a ticket cannot make the competition for any reason, bands will be selected from the waitlist at random and will need to buy a ticket before being allowed to enter.
NOTE: band competition registration is full for 2023. All further inquiries will be added to the wait list in case of cancellation and the priority list for next year.
Priority for tickets will be given to bands with an established internet or social media presence who have proof of past and future scheduled performances as a professional outfit.
All band competition performances will take place at Stage 7 (formerly South stage)
Preliminary Round (8 bands): Sunday, 1:20-2:55pm
Final Round (2 bands): Sunday, 4:45-5:00pm
Rules and Guidelines:
- Please note: Contestants are required to use just a single, large diaphragm condenser stage microphone (provided) for both rounds of the band contest. No monitors are provided. Bass players may plug in if desired.
- No more than (8) bands will be registered for the band contest.
- Bands may consist of 3-6 members. The music should be “Bluegrass,” “Old Time,” “Western Swing,” or “New Acoustic/Newgrass.”
- Recommended time limit: (4) minutes per song. Judges may mark you down if a selection significantly exceeds (4) minutes.
- No electric instruments or pickups allowed, with exception of electric bass and steel guitar (or lap steel). One mic and one DI box will be provided for each band.
- Each band plays (2) songs in the preliminaries and (2) songs in the finals. Bands can play whichever songs they like.
Suggested songs and styles
- A slow vocal song Tempos are relative
- An instrumental song
- A fast vocal song. Tempos are relative
- An a capella song (no instruments) featuring harmony singing
- Bands will not be penalized if they do not play an instrumental song.
- Bands cannot repeat songs played during the preliminary round in the final round.
- Bands entering the contest cannot have common members – each individual can only compete with ONE band in the band contest
- Band competition winners from previous years are not eligible to enter the Band competition again.
- Contestant order is to be randomly assigned at the contest site prior to the start of the competition. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before the competition starts.
- Scores from the preliminary round do not affect scores from the final round. The finals are a new contest.
- The winner of the final round will be named Kansas State Old Time/Western Swing/Harmony Singing/Americana/Bluegrass/Newgrass Band of the Year! (band can and will have input on what genre they choose to identify as)
Bands will be scored as a rank system, 1-8 (or however many bands compete) based on the following judging criteria
25% Originality of songs selected
25% Cohesiveness as a Band (stage presence)
25% Crowd Response
The winner based on the above criteria will be awarded $300 cash, get a spot at Stage 3 at the 2023 Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, KS and be named the 2023 Kansas State Old Time/Bluegrass/Western Swing/Harmony Singing/Newgrass/Acoustic Band of the Year.
Dedicated to the purpose of providing a platform for participation in the promotion and preservation of traditional acoustic music.