Accompanist Championship Rules


  1. The Accompanist Championship is designed to recognize and reward fiddler accompanists.  Competitors in this competition may not also compete in the Grand Master Fiddler Open Championship, Youth or Traditional Championship.  There are no restrictions regarding age and no groupings.  Limited to the first 10 contestants that check in or register ONSITE.


  1. Acceptable instruments for this category include any traditionally accepted fiddle backup instrument such as four-string tenor guitar, six-string guitar, piano, bass, mandolin and old-time banjo. Bluegrass-style banjo backup is not acceptable.


  1. No electric instruments (except piano) are permitted and contestants may not play "lead".  This is NOT a picking or solo competition. 


  1. The contestant may use one fiddler of their choice for their performance.  


  1. No songs of any style are banned, anything goes.


  1. In the accompanist presentation, they may play ONE OR TWO tunes of any style they choose.  The contestant should play rhythmic music that enhances and supports the fiddling. The judging criteria is as follows:  In the judge’s determination: a) does the playing enhance and support the fiddle playing; AND b) if the judge were playing the tune would that performance help them play to their best potential.  Keep this in mind and don’t assume you have to play normal fiddle contest tunes!


  1. THERE IS 3 MINUTE LIMIT - penalties may be assessed for excessively exceeding this limit.


  1. A contestant winning the Grand Master Fiddler Accompanist Championship the past two years in a row is not eligible for this year’s contest. They can choose to sit out a year and compete again or return and compete in the Open, Traditional, or Youth (age permitting) Championship categories.


  1. Contestants should be ready to compete when called to the stage.  Contestants will be required to begin their first tune within 30 seconds from the time they are announced to the judges.  Consideration will be given for broken strings, switching instruments, etc. Violation of this rule will result in loss of 30 points and/or disqualification.


  1. In the event a contestant breaks a string, they will be allowed to restart their tune.  If they continue, the tune will be scored as is.  If their accompanist breaks a string, the contestant has 30 seconds to decide whether to stop and restart the tune or continue.  Any stoppage after this 30 second grace period will result in the tune being scored as is.


  1. The decision of the judges is FINAL.  Any contestant or accompanist who harasses, threatens or verbally abuses a judge or contest official will first be warned and next be expelled from the contest for the current and next year.


  1. Upon contestant registration, all commercial recording, photo and video rights during the contest are reserved and shall become the property of the Grand Master Fiddler Championship.



Last revised: July 30, 2022


The 2024 Grand Master Fiddler Championship will be held at the McAfee Concert Hall, on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, on August 31 and  September 1st (Labor Day Weekend). Visit this website often for updates.

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