& Band Scramble
BIG HORN MOUNTAIN
Americana, Folk, Old-Timey,
& Traditional Music
July 8, 9 & 10,
2015 BHMF Instrument Contest Rules & Information
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
in each contest will be listed for registration and asked to perform in
alphabetical order and only by assigned contestant number.
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.
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.
- Contestants are not allowed to take more than one instrument with them on stage at a time to compete.
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
- Billed or paid performers at the Festival may not participate as contestants in the contests.
- Medleys or a medley of tunes is not acceptable for any contest.
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.
- Trick playing or performance tricks are prohibited.
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.
- 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
- 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 11, 2015 – Main Stage
Specific Rules for Guitar (flat pick)
Contest – 10:30 am on July 11, 2015 – Main Stage
- There will be no age limit for the Open Old Time Fiddle Contest.
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.
- No trick fiddling or fancy fiddling or bow work will be allowed.
- Orange Blossom Special, Mockingbird or Black Mountain Rag shall not be played by any fiddle contest contestant.
Specific Rules for Banjo Contest – 11:00 am
on July 11, 2015 – Main Stage
- Each contestant will play three (3)
tunes in one round.
- All contestants must play with a flat
pick in flat pick style only. No finger
picking or mixed finger picking is allowed.
- Alteration of the tuning of the low E
(6th) string is allowed. No other string tuning adjustments or
deviations will be allowed.
- Standard or traditional style capos can
be used so long as they alter all six strings at a time and not one or more
Specific Rules for Mandolin Contest – 11:30
am on July 11, 2015 – Main Stage
- Each contestant will play three (3)
tunes in one round.
- Contestants may play one tune per round
in claw style but are not obligated to do so.
- Both four (4) string and five (5)
string banjos may be used in the contest.
approximately 5:45 pm on Saturday evening all first, second, and third
place winning contestants from the Saturday contests will need to
report to Stage 1 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.
contestant will play three (3) tunes in one round.
To Sign Up
Please download and print this
form to pre-register or you can sign up at the Big Horn
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.
2015 Band Scramble Rules & Information
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
how it'll work.
To Sign Up
- The Band Scramble is again FREE this year!
- An electric bass is OK, but otherwise only acoustic
can be used (the usual suspects like guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin,
dobro, spoons, washboard, zither, bones, kazoo, etc.).
- Contestants must have a festival
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
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
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
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
are. Bluegrass, old-timey, folk, or other related genres are
(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
in an introduction of everybody.
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
there’s no accounting for taste anyway.
If you want to sign up
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
the information requested in the form. You can e-mail the
information or snail-mail it to Bill Bradshaw at 706 Adair, Sheridan,
82801. You can also pick
a form at the Festival Merchandise Booth when you get to Buffalo in