49th Walnut Valley Festival

September 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 2021

National Flat-Picking Championships
Winfield, KS

All tickets previously sold for WVF 49 will be valid for entry in September 2021. Tickets are also currently available for purchase.

September 15-19, 2021

National Flat-Picking Championships
Winfield, KS

All tickets previously sold for WVF 49 will be valid for entry in September 2021. Tickets are also currently available for purchase.

2021 Contest Rules

General Rules for All Contests

Winfield, Kansas

September 15,16, 17, 18, 19, 2021

Contests are open to anyone except those who are performing as a billed or paid entertainer or workshop leader at the 2021 National Flat Pick Guitar Championships and those who have been the
First-Place winner within the past five years — specifically the years 2016 through 2020.  However, previous winners may enter and win contests which they have not won within the last five years.  For example, a First-Place winner of the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship in the last five years may enter and win any or all of the other contests.

For the year 2021 only, 2020 contest registrations will be carried over to 2021 and the number of competitors will be increased to 55 contestants per contest.  This will be the first 55 answering when their names are called from the chronological registration lists, one-half hour before the contest begins. 
Contestants MUST HAVE A VALID / PURCHASED FESTIVAL TICKET for the day of the contest. 

Contestants must play instruments acoustically into a microphone.  An instrument’s electrical ‌capability cannot be used.  You may retune your instrument between instrumental numbers using a portable electronic tuner.  BE AWARE that time spent retuning your instrument on stage will be included as part of the recommended Maximum Total Playing time of 5 minutes per round.

 

Contestants may have one rhythm instrument for accompaniment.  It is WVA policy that billed or paid entertainers or workshop leaders NOT ACCOMPANY CONTESTANTS.  Contestants will not be allowed to take two instruments on stage  A MEDLEY OF TUNES IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

In an effort to judge the contest objectively and equally, the following criteria will be considered by the judges and assigned point value in each area (except for fiddle):

40 points – Arrangements & Composition  Judges will be listening for the quality of the arrangement, in terms of its difficulty, originality and overall musicality.  The same holds true if the contestant is playing his or her own composition.

40 points — Execution  Judges will be listening for how cleanly and fluidly the music is performed. The tempo should be steady and constant.  Any tempo changes should be appropriate to the tune.  Tuning Counts. Is the instrument in tune with itself and relatively close to concert pitch of A=440?

10 points – Show Value  Contestants should also keep in mind how their music might be received by both the general audience and the judges.  Exhibit a variety of styles between the two pieces played.

10 points — Overall Impression Judges want to hear a depth of musical understanding and a mastery of the instrument.

Specific rules for each contest follow. Contestants may register for the contests by returning the entry form with the necessary fee or by calling 620-221-3250 and using a credit card. All registered contestants must confirm their registration at the Contest Trailer prior to the time registration closes. WE WILL ACCEPT CONTEST REGISTRATIONS ON GROUNDS UNTIL ONE HOUR BEFORE THE SCHEDULED CONTEST TIME. Order of appearance will be determined by drawing a number one-half hour before the contest begins.

If there are nine (9) or fewer registered, contestants will play three (3) tunes in the first round with a recommended maximum total time limit of eight (8) minutes except fiddle, which will play their three tunes in their recommended seven (7) minute time limit.  Judges will place winners without the additional tunes of a second round. 

Score cards will NOT be given out.

PLEASE NOTE: The judging room only hears the competing instrument and receives no mix or sound coming from accompaniment or rhythm instrument.

>>> Contestants are not allowed to speak on stage. <<<

Early Registration will close Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 at Midnight.

Registration will Re-Open on Festival Grounds Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 at 7:00am

Specific Contest Rules

International Autoharp Championship

Thursday, September 16, 2021, 9:00 a.m. Stage IV. Entry Fee is $15

MAXIMUM Recommended TOTAL PLAYING TIME of 5 MINUTES per round of competition

Contestants will be prepared to play four instrumental numbers.  No vocals will be allowed.  Two numbers will be played in the first round of competition and the other two in the final round should the contestant be selected as a finalist.  Contestants may have one rhythm instrument for accompaniment, but not another autoharp. Tunes may be traditional, bluegrass, folk, classical or old-time country.  Special tunings will be allowed (e.g. the diatonic just tuning, etc.); however, the contestant will not be allowed to take 2 instruments on stage.  Fingerpicks, flat picks, or bare fingers are all acceptable.  Lap-style or Appalachian style playing is acceptable.  However, a player is not limited to only these techniques.  All brands of chorded zithers will be allowed, including custom-made harps.  Any custom-made harp must be within the size of the standard (36-37 string) model acoustic autoharp.  Contestants must be registered before 8:00 a.m. September 16, 2021, at the Contest Registration
Trailer. Contestants must be present at the contest stage at 8:30 a.m. to draw for order of appearance and receive final instructions.  Winners will be announced and will receive their awards immediately after the contest on Stage IV.  (See general rules.)

International Finger Style Guitar Championship

Thursday, September 16, 2021, 3:00 p.m. Stage IV. Entry fee is $15.

MAXIMUM Recommended TOTAL PLAYING TIME of 5 MINUTES per round of competition

PLEASE NOTE: The Walnut Valley Association will be accepting fifty-five (55) registrations for the International Finger Style Guitar Championship.  We Will Accept an Additional Thirty (30) Registrations for a STANDBY LIST in case of cancellations or no-shows.  You may register for the standby list if the primary list is full, on-line or by calling the office at (620) 221-3250, paying registration fees with a credit card, or register by completing the registration form and mailing with a check, money order, or credit card information.  You may still sign up at the Festival to be added to the end of the standby list at the Contest Registration Trailer which opens Thursday, September 16, 2021, at 7:00 a.m.

Contestants will be prepared to play four instrumental numbers.  Two numbers will be played in the first round of competition and the other two in the final round should the contestant be selected as a finalist. CONTESTANT MAY PLAY ANY STYLE OF MUSIC, BUT FLAT PICK AND SLIDE TECHNIQUES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE. Contestants may use thumb and finger picks. NO FLAT PICK. Standard / traditional acoustic 6-string or standard / traditional 12-string arch top or flat top guitars with either steel or nylon strings are allowed. Special tunings will be allowed. However, the contestant will NOT be allowed to take two instruments on stage. Up to One Capo may be used but is not required.  It may be applied to any, or all of the strings on the guitar. Contestants must be registered before 2:00 p.m. Thursday, September 16, 2021 at the Contest Registration Trailer, and be present at the contest stage at 2:30 p.m. to draw for order of appearance and receive final instructions. Winners will be announced and will receive their awards immediately after the contest on Stage IV.  (See general rules.) The top three winners will be required to play in a Friday night performance on Stage I.

National Mountain Dulcimer Championship

Friday, September 17, 2021, 9:00 a.m. Stage IV. Entry Fee is $15.

MAXIMUM Recommended TOTAL PLAYING TIME of 5 MINUTES per round of competition

Contestants will be prepared to play four instrumental numbers. Two numbers will be played in the first round of competition and the other two in the final round should the contestant be selected as a finalist. All 3-string, 4-string or 6-string mountain dulcimers either hourglass, teardrop, or rectangular shaped are allowed. Contestants may have one rhythm instrument for accompaniment but not another mountain dulcimer. Contestants must be registered before 8:00 a.m., Friday, September 17, 2021, at the Contest Registration Trailer and be present at the contest stage at 8:30 a.m. to draw for order of appearance and receive final instructions. Winners will be announced and will receive their awards immediately after the contest on Stage IV.  (See general rules.)

National Mandolin Championship

Friday, September 17, 2021, 1:00 p.m. Stage IV. Entry Fee is $15.

MAXIMUM Recommended TOTAL PLAYING TIME of 5 MINUTES per round of competition

Contestants will be prepared to play four instrumental numbers.  Two numbers will be played in the first round of competition and the other two in the final round should the contestant be selected as a finalist.  Contestants must be registered before noon Friday, September 17, 2021, at the Contest Registration Trailer and be present at the contest stage at 12:30 p.m. to draw for order of appearance and receive final instructions.  Winners will be announced and will receive their awards immediately after the contest on Stage IV.  (See general rules.)

Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship

Friday, September 17, 2021, 6:00 p.m. Stage IV. Entry fee is $15.

MAXIMUM Recommended TOTAL PLAYING TIME of 7 MINUTES for the First Round of competition; 
TOTAL PLAYING TIME of 5 MINUTES for the Second Round.

This contest will be judged as follows:

25 points     Authenticity – Tunes must have an Old Time / Traditional sound and feel.

25 points     Rhythm & Timing – Tunes must have an Old Time/Traditional rhythm with a steady, danceable timing.

25 points     Execution – Notes should be clear, distinct and in tune. Tone quality will be considered.

25 points     Expression – Tunes should be lively yet maintain that Old Timey Sound and feel.

Contestants will be judged on Authenticity, Rhythm & Timing, Execution, and Expression with highest scores going to traditional Old-Time tunes/songs played in a traditional Old-Time style.

Each contestant will play a hoedown, a waltz, and a tune of his/her choice in that order for the first round.  If selected for the second round, a contestant will play a hoedown and a waltz in that order.

Hoedown: A tune that is full-length, or 8 bars, repeated for both A and B parts.  Unequal part lengths and three-part tunes are not acceptable as a hoedown.

Waltz: A tune in ¾ timing with A and B parts.

Tune of Fiddler’s Choice:  Tune may be more than 2 parts, may be crooked with irregular phrase lengths, or a different feel from a hoedown, as in fiddle blues (such as East Tennessee Blues.)  Highest scores will be given to traditional Old Time tunes played in an Old Time style.

No trick or fancy fiddling will be allowed.  Contestants will be disqualified for playing Mockingbird, Black Mountain Rag, or Orange Blossom Special.  All treble clef instruments in the violin family, not classified as a viola, cello or double bass, are allowed in this competition.  One rhythm instrument may be used as an accompanist.  A double bass may be used as a rhythm instrument but is not required. 

If there are nine (9) or fewer registered, the contestants will play a hoedown, a waltz, and a tune of their choice in the recommended seven (7) minute time limit of the first round.  Judges will place winners without the additional tunes of a second round.  Contestants must be registered before 5:00pm Friday, September 17, 2021 at the Contest Registration Trailer and be present at the contest stage at 5:30pm to draw for order of appearance and receive final instructions.  Winners will be announced and will receive their awards immediately after the contest on Stage IV.  (See general rules.)

National Flat Pick Guitar Championship

Saturday, September 18, 2021, 9:00 a.m. Stage IV. Entry fee is $15.

MAXIMUM Recommended TOTAL PLAYING TIME of 5 MINUTES per round of competition

*  Walnut Valley Association will accept fifty-five (55) registrations for the National Flat Pick Guitar Championship plus an additional thirty (30) registrations for a standby list in case of cancellations or no-shows.  When the first fifty-five (55) registrations have been received, you may register for the standby list on-line or by calling the office at (620) 221-3250, paying registration fees with a credit card, or register by completing the registration form and mailing with a check, money order, or credit card information.  You may still sign up at the Festival to be added to the end of the standby list at the Contest Registration Trailer which opens Thursday, September 16, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.

Contestants will be prepared to play four instrumental numbers in traditional fiddle tune or bluegrass style.  Two numbers will be played in the first round and the other two in the final round should the contestant be selected as a finalist.  All contestants must play with a FLAT PICK.  NO FINGER PICKING WILL BE ALLOWED.  NO COMBINATION OF FLAT PICKING AND FINGER PICKING WILL BE ALLOWED.  Standard / Traditional acoustic 6-string or standard / traditional acoustic 12-string guitars may be played in this competition.  The alteration or tuning of the low E (6th) string will be permitted.  The low E (6th) string can be changed to any note desired, not limiting the tuning of the 6th string to “Drop D” or a low D note but to any desired pitch.  No other string tuning or variance from the standard E (1), B (2), G (3), D (4), A (5) will be permitted.

Some slight, overall variance from concert pitch A=440 will be tolerated. (See #2 in the general rules.)   Up to one capo may be used but is not required.  If a capo is used, it must be applied across all strings on the same fret of the instrument to ensure all other rules regarding tuning are followed.  Contestants must be registered before 8:00 a.m. Saturday, September 18, 2021, at the Contest Registration Trailer and be present at the contest stage at 8:30 a.m. to draw for order of appearance and receive final instructions.  Winners will be announced and will receive their awards immediately after the contest on Stage IV.  (See general rules.) The top 3 winners will be required to play in a Saturday night performance on Stage I.

National Hammer Dulcimer Championship

Saturday, September 18, 2021, 3:30 p.m. Stage IV. Entry fee is $15.

MAXIMUM Recommended TOTAL PLAYING TIME of 5 MINUTES per round of competition

Contestants will be prepared to play four instrumental numbers.  Two numbers will be played in the first round of competition and the other two will be played in the second round should the contestant be selected as a finalist.  Originality is encouraged.  It is permissible to pluck one tune, but not necessary.  Contestants must be registered before 2:30 p.m. Saturday, September 18, 2021, at the Contest Registration Trailer and be present at the contest stage at 3:00 p.m. to draw for order of appearance and receive final instructions.  Winners will be announced and receive their awards immediately after the contest on Stage IV.  (See general rules.)

National Bluegrass Banjo Championship

Sunday, September 19, 2021, 10:00 a.m. Stage IV. Entry fee is $15.

MAXIMUM Recommended TOTAL PLAYING TIME of 5 MINUTES per round of competition

Contestants will be prepared to play four instrumental numbers.  Two numbers will be played in the first round of competition and the other two will be played in the final round should the contestant be selected as a finalist.  Contestants must be registered before 9:00 a.m. Sunday, September 19, 2021, at the Contest Registration Trailer and be present at the contest stage at 9:30 a.m. to draw for order of appearance and receive final instructions.  Winners will be announced and receive their awards immediately after the contest on Stage IV.  (See general rules.)

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

Office Hours

Post-Festival through May

Monday-Friday
9am-Noon; 1pm to 5pm

June through August 2nd

Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

August 3rd through September 7th

Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

Saturday
9am-1pm