Open Preliminary Rules


  1. The Preliminary round is designed to allow any fiddler to compete for the right to be a Finalist in the Grand Master Fiddler Championship.  Competitors in this competition may not also compete in the Accompanist, Youth, or Traditional Championship.  There are no restrictions regarding age and no groupings. Limited to up to the first 30 contestants that check in or register ONSITE.


  1. No electric instruments (except piano) and no instruments playing "lead" will be permitted.  No fiddler will be allowed more than 4 accompanying instruments.  Any stringed instrument or piano is acceptable as backup.


  1. 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.


  1. In each fiddler's presentation, they must play a breakdown and a waltz - IN THAT ORDER.  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. 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.


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


  1. The top five scoring contestants (at least) will be selected to compete in the Finals.  (NOTE: Based upon time availability, more than five finalists may be selected to compete in the Championship round.) In the event of a tie for the last position to select as Finalist, all five judges’ scores will be added together as a tie breaker.  Special note: the charter of the Grand Master Fiddler Championship, Inc. 501 (c)(3) organization is to promote and educate about fiddling.  With this in mind, several more contestants may be chosen by the judging committee to compete based on the support toward our educational goals and these are not necessarily chosen based on scoring.


  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 on August 31 and  September 1st (Labor Day Weekend). Visit this website often for updates.

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