13th Annual

Acoustic, Americana, Folk, Old-Timey,
Bluegrass & Traditional Music
July 7, 8 & 9, 2017
Johnson County Fairgrounds
Buffalo, Wyoming
e-mail: info@bighornmountainfestival.com
Contests & Band Scramble
2016 BHMF Instrument Contest Rules & Information

Want to go head to head with some hot pickers?  Here's your chance. Just enter the mandolin, banjo, guitar, or fiddle contests. If you win the mandolin or banjo contests in Buffalo, you are the Wyoming State champion. By winning these contests, or the old time fiddle contest, you are guaranteed a slot at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas with entry fees paid by the Big Horn Mountain Festival. There you can compete in the National Mandolin or Bluegrass Banjo Championships, or the Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship. Contest prizes also typically include some combination of trophies, cash, and other items.

While the mandolin and banjo winners go to Winfield as Wyoming State Champions, we want to be clear that is not the case for the fiddle or guitar contest winners. The Wyoming Old Time Fiddle Association determines the Wyoming State Fiddle Champion at the State Fiddle Contest, and Wyoming’s guitar champion is determined at the Oyster Ridge Music Festival in Kemmerer. 
Contests aren't for everyone, but for those who think they've got the chops or who just want some stage time in front of people, they can be a lot of fun. It’s also a really good way to meet new picking friends and learn new tunes, and the fans can hear some really good stuff. So grab the metronome, get practiced up, and give it a shot!

Big Horn Mountain Festival Instrument Contest Rules
(Subject to change)

The Festival contests are being held to add fun to the Festival. Relax and enjoy the contests, do not let your competitive spirit get in the way of having fun or treating other contestants or the judges in a patient and respectful way. These general rules apply to all contests – additional specific rules for each contest follow the general rules below.
  1. Due to time limitations, all Contests will be limited to the first ten (10) contestants who actually register and pay their registration fees. Registrations will be taken on a first-come-first-served basis.  Individual instrument contest registrations will be accepted until ten (10) minutes immediately prior to the start of all contests on Saturday morning – usually around 9:20 a.m. on that Saturday. This restriction does not apply to the Band Scramble. If you can register early for contests please try to do so, it really helps us out if you will register earlier – at least the day before if possible.
  2. Contestants in each contest will be listed for registration and asked to perform in alphabetical order and only by assigned contestant number.
  3. Maximum playing time for all contests is seven (7) minutes per contestant. You do not have to use up that maximum available time when you perform.
  4. Contestants must play their instruments acoustically into the microphone provided. An instrument’s electrical capability cannot be used and must be turned off during the contest.
  5. Contestants are not allowed to take more than one instrument with them on stage at a time to compete.
  6. Contestants may have one rhythm instrument for accompaniment. Billed or paid entertainers may not accompany contestants. The accompanying instrument will not be played into the microphone and will not be evaluated by the judges.
  7. Billed or paid performers at the Festival may not participate as contestants in the contests.
  8. Medleys or a medley of tunes is not acceptable for any contest.
  9. The Festival judging committee and manager reserve absolute discretion to warn and/or disqualify any contestant whose style of playing and/or selection of material is not consistent with the rules or is otherwise not in keeping with the flavor of the Festival.
  10. Trick playing or performance tricks are prohibited.
  11. The contest judges’ identities will be kept anonymous to the fullest extent possible. Please respect our judging staff by honoring their efforts and encouraging other contestants to do the same.
  12. In an effort to maintain consistent and objective judging, the following criteria shall be used by the Judges for each contest:
  • 40 points  Execution and tuning – Fingering and hand and instrument positions, dynamics, intonation, and sound quality.
  • 40 points  Arrangement and tune selection – Quality and appropriateness of the tunes selected and determination if the tunes selected fit the instrument. Difficulty and originality are also considered under this criteria.
  • 10 points  Show value – Was the music performed with feeling and enthusiasm. Was the music played with the proper tempo and feeling for the instrument.
  • 10 points  Overall impression
  1. All contests will be judged blind. Judges will not watch the participants perform on stage.

Specific Rules for Old Time Fiddle Contest – 9:30 am on July 9, 2016 – Community Building
  1. There will be no age limit for the Open Old Time Fiddle Contest.
  2. Each contestant will play three (3) tunes in one round. Each contestant will play one (1) waltz tune, one (1) hoedown tune, and one (1) tune of the contestant’s choice in that specific order.
  3. No trick fiddling or fancy fiddling or bow work will be allowed.
  4. Orange Blossom Special, Mockingbird or Black Mountain Rag shall not be played by any fiddle contest contestant.
Specific Rules for Guitar (flat pick) Contest – 10:30 am on July 9, 2016 – Community Building
  1. Each contestant will play three (3) tunes in one round.
  2. All contestants must play with a flat pick in flat pick style only. No finger picking or mixed finger picking is allowed.
  3. Alteration of the tuning of the low E (6th) string is allowed. No other string tuning adjustments or deviations will be allowed.
  4. Standard or traditional style capos can be used so long as they alter all six strings at a time and not one or more individual strings.
Specific Rules for Banjo Contest – 11:00 am on July 9, 2016 – Community Building
  1. Each contestant will play three (3) tunes in one round. 
  2. Contestants may play one tune per round in claw style but are not obligated to do so.
  3. Both four (4) string and five (5) string banjos may be used in the contest.
Specific Rules for Mandolin Contest – 11:30 am on July 9, 2016 – Community Building
  1. Each contestant will play three (3) tunes in one round.

At approximately 5:45 pm on Saturday evening all first, second, and third place winning contestants from the Saturday contests will need to report to the Main Stage to prepare to perform for the Festival audience. Contest winners will complete their audience performances between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm on the Main Stage.

How To Sign Up
Please download and print this form to pre-register or you can sign up at the Big Horn Mountain Festival merchandise booth when you arrive at the fairgrounds.  The contest rules are also available as a PDF download.

Good luck and thanks to all contestants for participating in the Festival contests.

2016 Band Scramble Rules & Information
Band scrambles are a lot of fun for everyone involved. It’s a great way for amateur and professional musicians alike to have fun playing with new folks, learn new tunes, and entertain the fans. It’s also a ton of fun for fans that get to hear great music while gaining a greater appreciation of just how really good these pickers are. OK, so it’s also a chance to win the really big bucks and help finance that (a) just-gotta-have-it shiny new instrument, (b) debt payment accrued from being a musician in the first place, (c) six pack for after the show, or (d) whatever.

We want to make it fun and keep it simple so there are only a few rules that should cover pretty much everything, but if not, Bill Bradshaw is hereby designated the arbiter of all controversy (he’s of loose moral character). 

Here's how it'll work.

  • The Band Scramble is again FREE this year!
  • An electric bass is OK, but otherwise only acoustic instruments can be used (the usual suspects like guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, dobro, spoons, washboard, zither, bones, kazoo, etc.).
  • Contestants must have a festival ticket for the day of the contest. We’ll post the winners on our website so they will be famous.
  • The contest will be held on Stage #2 in the Community Building. It starts at 4:00 pm on Saturday, July 13th and has to end by 5:15 pm.
  • Names of contestants will be drawn from John’s big old-timey hat in time to give the newly created bands at least two hours to practice and come up with really cool names (usually the hardest part). That means we’ll close registration at 1:30 pm on Saturday and draw the names at 2:00 pm.  Gather at the beer wagon for the drawing.  It’s right in front of the main seating area by the merchandise booth.
  • Mr. Bradshaw more or less randomly determines who plays when.
  • Sound equipment will be provided but it may be a single mike that people will have to play around; just like the old time folks did it.
  • Each band will perform two or three tunes depending on how many bands there are. Bluegrass, old-timey, folk, or other related genres are acceptable (please, let’s not argue about this, you know what we mean). Medleys are fine and will count as a single selection, but please be mindful of our time limits and other performers, and don’t drag them out forever. Please include at lease one vocal selection regardless if you play two or three songs. Everyone wants to know who you are, so try to work in an introduction of everybody.
  • The audience is the judge and the best audience response (applause, hoots, joyful screaming, fainting, etc.), determines the outcome. Stage presence and overall impressions are critical and the best sounding or fastest band may not necessarily win. What the heck, we all know there’s no accounting for taste anyway.
How To Sign Up
If you want to sign up early, please download and print this form or you can be creative in how you get the information in the form to us.  We don’t care how it’s done as long as we have all the information requested in the form. You can e-mail the information or snail-mail it to Bill Bradshaw at 706 Adair, Sheridan, WY, 82801. You can also pick up a form at the Festival Merchandise Booth when you get to Buffalo in July.
 BHMF / MWG  All Rights Reserved.
Website Development by Mountain West Group