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2017 Contests

Competition slots are limited so CLICK HERE to Pre-register

Preliminary Competition

The top three individual finalists for each category play-off in the evening finals for first ($100), second ($50) and third ($25) place.   The top five Old Time and Bluegrass Bands Preliminary Competition winners play-off in the evening finals for first ($500), second ($400), third ($300), fourth($200), and fifth ($100) place.

Competition Categories/Maximum Enrollment

Category Maximum Competitors
Open Category* 18
Autoharp 6
Mandolin 10
Guitar 10
Old Time Banjo 15
Bluegrass Fiddle 10
Flatfoot Dance 20
Twin Fiddle 6
Bluegrass Band Unlimited
Old Time Band Unlimited
Old Time Fiddle 15
Blue Grass Banjo 10

*Open Category:  For individuals who present musical talent reflecting the rich heritage of southern Appalachian music that is not available in other competition categories. Typical areas of competition include: Ballad singing, Harmonica, Mountain Dulcimer, Hammered Dulcimer, Dobro, Bass and Rhythm instruments.

Preliminary Competition Times (Approximate Times)

Category Time
Autoharp 10:00 am
Mandolin 10:20 am
Open Category* 10:45 am
Old Time Banjo 11:30 am
Flatfoot Dance 12:00 Noon
Old Time Fiddles 12:30 noon
Bluegrass Banjos 1:00 pm
Bluegrass Fiddles 1:20 pm
Guitar 1:40 pm
Twin Fiddlers 2:00 pm
Old Time Bands 3:00 pm
Bluegrass Bands 4:00 pm

Final Competition Times

Category Time
Autoharp 6:30 pm
Mandolin 6:40 pm
Open 6:50 pm
Old Time Banjos 7:00 pm
Flatfoot Dance 7:10 pm
Old Time Fiddles 7:30 pm
Bluegrass Banjos 7:40 pm
Bluegrass Fiddlers 7:50 pm
Guitar 8:00 pm
Twin Fiddlers 8:10 pm
Old Time Bands 8:30 pm
Bluegrass Bands 9:30 pm

Please Note: The Festival management reserves the right to alter the times based on weather, number of competitors, and other external factors beyond our control.

Contestant Perks

In addition to the prize money, competitors will

1) receive a participation ribbon

2) have Saturday’s admission fee reimbursed upon request

Competition Rules

1)   Individual contestants will play either one or two tunes during the day preliminaries (depending on number of entries). Bands and Twin Fiddles will play two tunes in preliminary competition. Competitors may re-tune between songs if two songs are requested. The festival management reserves the right to make exceptions as numbers and extraordinary events dictate.

2)   Competition will be “batched” for individuals and bands. No medleys will be allowed.

3)   Registration for Music Competition categories will close 15 minutes before that categories scheduled performance (see schedule).

4)   Contestants must be backstage at their categories designated time to be included in the music competitions order of performance or forfeit their right to compete.

5)   No announcements by contestants will be allowed on stage before or after their performance. Emcee will announce all pertinent information for each contestant.

6)   The order of play in each category will be randomly determined.

7)   Winners will be posted at the conclusion of the event.

8)   Open Category songs must reflect the rich heritage of southern Appalachian music and is not available in other competition categories. The festival management reserves the right to determine if the performance is in keeping with the festival mission and would be eligible for competition.  Only acoustic instruments are allowed.

9)   All songs must be limited to three minutes. Judges will penalize for going over allotted time.

10)  Individual contestants can appear in only one band but can compete in different individual categories.

11)   Individual category contestants will be allowed one accompanist of a different instrument. Accompanists may play with more than one individual contestant.

12)  In Old Time Fiddle competition, trick tunes such as Listen to the Mockingbird will not be permitted.

13)   Twin Fiddlers competition does not allow an accompanist.

14)  Bands can compete in only one category, Old Time Band or Bluegrass Band.

15)   Old-Time Bands must consist of at least a banjo, a fiddle and one rhythm instrument with no more than seven members. Bands must play heritage tunes characteristic of the old time tradition and style. Only one vocal number is permitted but is not required.

16)   Bluegrass Bands must consist of three different instruments with no more than seven members.

17)  Judges will determine if a non-traditional instrument qualifies for its category.

18)   The same band members who competed in the preliminaries must perform in the finals.

19)    During the finals, all individual contestants will play only one tune and Bands and Twin Fiddles will play two tunes.

20)   Mountain Flatfoot dance competitions will be approximately 30-45 seconds with live band providing the music. Preliminary competition will determine the top three dancers who will compete in the finals in the evening. No taps allowed. (See Dance Judging issues)

21)   Finalists who cannot perform in the evening competition or who do not appear at the designated time will automatically receive last place.

22)    Competitors that place first in a category for three consecutive years will no longer be eligible to compete in that Music Competition category. These winners will be honored as Master Musicians for that category and although ineligible to compete, will be recognized and asked to perform as a highlight at the next festival.

23)     All judges’ decisions are final.

Dance Judging Issues and Focus

Judges favor traditional performance over technical performance. Mountain Flatfoot dance will be judged on difficulty and variety of steps, natural and comfortable dance presentation, timing, and presentation of smooth old time style. Shoes must be worn. This event should consist of authentic old-time dancing in the “true Flat-foot style”. For example, use of the arms and upper body should be used in a way to support the natural flat-footing rhythm and motions of the feet. Extravagant gestures such as high kicks and rhythms and styles of dance reflecting Clogging, Irish, Break Dancing, Sean-Nos, etc. are subject to penalty or disqualification. No taps are allowed.

2016 Winners


  1. Danny Wicker
  2. Kathleen Burnett
  3. Emma Harwell


  1. Christine Olsen
  2. Art Lang
  3. Michael Poole


  1. Jonah Horton
  2. Caleb Coatney
  3. William Roberts

Old Time Banjo

  1. Caleb Coatney
  2. Henry Coatney
  3. Jared Boyd
Flatfoot Dance

  1. Dane Summers
  2. Cade Vissge
  3. Anneli Burnett

Old Time Fiddle

  1. Jacob Bowen
  2. Willow Dillon
  3. Cecil Gurganus


  1. Presley Barker
  2. Danny Wicker
  3. Daniel Thrailkill

Bluegrass Fiddle

  1. Ruth Shumway
  2. Jacob Bowen
  3. Jacob Turnbill
Bluegrass Banjo

  1. Sawyer Whitman
  2. Alex Edwards
  3. David Bruce

Twin Fiddles

  1. Kathleen & Anissa Burnett
  2. Willow Dillon & Cecil Gurganus
  3. Tori Jones & Madison Elmore

Old Time Bands

  1. Strictly Strings
  2. Zephr Lighting Bolts
  3. Five Points Rounders
  4. Tater Hill Mashers
  5. High Ridge Pickers

Bluegrass Bands

  1. Trail Blazers
  2. Double Duty
  3. Forty West
  4. Appalachian Tradition
  5. Blue Moon Bluegrass

2015 Winners


  1. Beth Smith
  2. Rick Ramseur
  3. Chrisin Blanton


  1. Doug Pratt
  2. Michael Poole
  3. Art Lang


  1. Eric McMurray
  2. Zack Arnold
  3. Caleb Coatney

Old Time Banjo

  1. Ben Reisser
  2. John Herrmann
  3. Willow Dillon
Flatfoot Dance

  1. Phoebe Douthwaite
  2. Linda Block
  3. Forest Doyle

Old Time Fiddle

  1. David Bass
  2. Kathleen Burnett
  3. Ruth Shumway


  1. Presley Barker
  2. Tyler Thompson
  3. Zack Arnold

Bluegrass Fiddle

  1. Kitty Amaral
  2. Ruth Shumway
  3. Laura Smith
Bluegrass Banjo

  1. Keaton McMillan
  2. Trey Wellington
  3. Carter Wilson

Twin Fiddles

  1. Cecil Gurganus & Willow Dillon
  2. Ruth Shumway & John Hoffman
  3. Anessa Burnett & Kathleen Burnett

Old Time Bands

  1. Down South Ramblers
  2. Strictly Strings
  3. High Ridge Pickers
  4. Five Points Rounders
  5. Ready Creek Tick Pickers

Bluegrass Bands

  1. Turkey Creek
  2. Clay Bank
  3. Shadow Crass
  4. Paddle Creek
  5. Gaining Ground