Updates to Contests:
- There will be only Youth and Adult contests. Youth are 16 years of age and younger. All other contestants will be considered Adults.
- We have added a new contest: Youth String Band Contest
- We have updated our Cash prize winnings. Please note the following section for those changes.
- You can now download contest registration forms and contest rules from this website! Click the following link to access the downloads page.
Youth Banjo, Youth Fiddle, Youth Dance
1st – $50
2nd – $35
3rd – $25
Adult Dulcimer, Adult Dance, Singing
1st – $100
2nd – $75
3rd – $50
Adult Banjo, Adult Fiddle
1st – $250
2nd – $150
3rd – $75
Youth String Band
1st – $100
2nd – $65
3rd – $35
Adult String Band
1st – $500
2nd – $300
3rd – $150
General Contest Rules:
- Contest registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning for all contests.
- Contest(s) entry is free with paid admission to the festival. Please have your entry wristband with you when you register.
- The discussions of the judges and the scoring sheets will not be shared with contestants or the audience.
- Entering any contest grants consent for the festival to record your performance. The Morehead Old Time Music Festival retains exclusive rights to reproduce any music played during the contests.
- Contestants should take note that all contest performances will be scored higher if old time tunes are played in a traditional style that is consistent with the tunes and style of the region.
- Registration for a contest will continue until the contest begins. Once a contest begins, registration for that particular contest will close.
- All contests will be judged on a 100 point scale, with four 25 point categories.
- For the fiddle and banjo contests, contestants will play two tunes, no longer than four minutes each, no medleys. A contestant may play alone or with one accompanist. Only acoustic instruments are permitted. If a contestant breaks a string, he/she may pause to replace the string and continue with the performance, or forfeit the contest.
- Dulcimer contestants will play one tune, no longer than four minutes. They may play alone or with one accompanist playing an acoustic instrument.
- Fiddle/Banjo/Dulcimer will be judged in the four categories of rhythm, intonation, technique, and tune selection (tunes that reflect the tradition of the region).
- Singers will sing one song, no longer than four minutes. They may have one accompanist and/or may accompany their own performance with an acoustic instrument.
- Singing will be judged in the four categories of feeling, intonation, vocal technique, and song selection (songs that reflect the traditions of the region).
- Bands will play two tunes/songs, no longer than four minutes each, with no medleys. There will be a play-off between the top three bands later in the evening. All bands must have a fiddler. Bands should consist of instruments typical of traditional music of the region. Lyrics should be appropriate for a family audience.
- Bands will be judged in the four categories of timing, tuning, dynamics, and overall performance.
- Dancers will dance to one tune played two times through. They will be scored on a 100 point scale in the four categories of technique, rhythm, style/creativity, and overall performance. No taps will be permitted on shoes. Dancers will be expected to dance traditional clogging, flat-foot, and/or buck dance styles consistent with the tradition of the region.