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Dandelion Old-Time Fiddlers Contest Rules


There are no entry fees for fiddlers.  Cover charge for spectators is $5.  Advance entry is encouraged but not required.  However, all contestants must register by 1:00 pm on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at the sign in table at The EastSide Restaurant.  Before the contest starts the Emcee will go over the rules and answer any questions.  Anything not expressly covered by the rules will be decided by the judges.  Judges’ decisions are final.  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, hosts, or sponsors may be disqualified, required to leave, and/or excluded from future contests.


There are three divisions.  Junior: Ages 17 & below – Senior: Ages 60 & above – Open: Any age.  Fiddlers can only compete in one division.  Those who are 18 to 59 may NOT play in the Junior or Senior Divisions.  Juniors and Seniors may elect to play in the open division.

Junior Fiddlers will start the contest.  When all in the Junior Division have played,  the Senior Division will commence.  When all in the Senior Division have played, the Open Division will commence.

Within each division, the order of play will be determined by drawing and will be announced at 3:45 pm prior to the commencement of the competition.  Contestants must be ready when called upon. Any contestant not on stage within three minutes of being announced will be disqualified and the next fiddler called.


Fiddlers will play a waltz,, a hoe down (Reel or other 4/4 tune), and Tune of Choice (Anything Goes) IN THIS ORDER, for a total of three tunes in 5 minutes max.  Trick or fancy fiddling will be allowed in Tune of Choice.   Tunes cannot be played twice.  Contestants will provide their selections to the Emcee. The Emcee will announce the tunes for each contestant. Each fiddler will be limited to no more than 4 minutes. Contestants may restart a tune in the event of a broken string or some other unavoidable problem.  Contestants 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.


Contestants may have up to three accompanist, to be furnished by the contestant.  Contestant must lead each tune.  Any acoustic instrument suitable for an old-time dance is welcome, for example, guitar, mandolin, banjo (4 or 5 string), cello, reed organ, accordion, tenor guitar or base.  Electric keyboards are allowed if set on piano mode only.  Other electrified instruments are not allowed.  Contestants 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 also include appropriateness of accompaniment.  In the event of a tie, or at the judges’ discretion call backs will be held.  While not required, contestants are encouraged to have additional selections prepared in the event of a fiddle off.


The following cash prizes will be awarded based on judging:

                   Open Division: $300, 200, 100

Junior Division: $100, $50, and $25 prizes

                   Senior Division: $200, $100, $50 prizes

At the end of the competition, the audience will cast ballots for their favorite fiddler overall covering (all divisions) with the following single cash prize

                   People’s Choice: $75, $50, $25


These Rules are subject to change.  Suggestions for improving the contest are always welcome and may be sent to Scott Campbell at the following e-mail address scott@scottytunes.com or to Phil White at phew1948@gmail.com or by mail to Dandelion Fiddlers Contest c/o Kingdom Games, PO Box 310, Newport, VT 05855.