Open Finals and Championship Rules


  1. Competitors in this competition may not also compete in the Accompanist, Youth or Traditional Championship. No electric instruments and no instruments playing "lead" will be permitted. No fiddler will be allowed more than 4 accompanying instruments. Any stringed instrument is acceptable as backup. Limited to up to the 25 contestants in the Finals and 10 contestants in the Championship.


  2. Songs that will not be allowed are: "Mockingbird", "Black Mountain Rag” and "Orange Blossom Special". We will not permit trick fiddling or show tunes. Note: "double shuffle" is acceptable if it is a traditional part of the song.


  3. For your information, the judges will be housed in a separate facility so no visual displays will influence their decisions. Judges will not have any contestant names or be told who is performing.


  4. In each fiddler's first presentation, they must play a breakdown, a waltz, and a tune of their choice IN THAT ORDER. The tune of the fiddler’s choice MAY BE another breakdown or waltz. Each fiddler must be prepared to give their tunes, in order of performance, to the Contestant Coordinator who will have the M.C. announce the numbers. If the fiddler is selected as a finalist, they will again play a breakdown, a waltz, and a tune of their choice - IN THAT ORDER - excluding the tunes they have already played as well as the banned tunes in Rule 2.   Failure to play the tunes in the correct order or playing the incorrect type of tune will result in a 30 point deduction from the total score. Points from both rounds will be added to determine the final score.


  5. THERE IS 6 MINUTE LIMIT - penalties may be assessed for excessively exceeding this limit.


  6. Just as last year's Grand Master Fiddler Champion is not eligible for this years contest, the winner of this contest will not be eligible to compete next year but will be given the option to return as a judge.


  7. The top scoring Ten finalists will be selected to complete in the Championship round.


  8. 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.


  9. 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.


  10. 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.


  11. 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.



The 2021 Grand Masters will return to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Ford Theater on September 4tth and 5th (Labor Day Weekend). Visit this website often for updates.

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