January 14, 2021
Winfield, Kansas—Officials at Walnut Valley Association (WVA) have announced that registration for the 49th Walnut Valley Festival acoustic instrument championships officially open on January 14, 2021. Contest registration is the first significant event to take place since the festival was postponed, and signals the organization’s intent to hold the event live in Winfield September 15-19, 2021.
Along with the National Flat Pick Guitar Championship and the International Finger Style Guitar Championship, the Walnut Valley Festival hosts the International Autoharp, National Mandolin, National Mountain Dulcimer, National Hammered Dulcimer, National Bluegrass Banjo, and Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championships. These competitions take place live in front of an audience, and annually attract more than 175 contestants from the US and foreign countries. Some of the contestants are drawn from the winners of earlier competitions at other festivals and events across the country.
Participants will need to closely review the contest rules posted on the official website, since WVA has made a few changes. For this year only, due to the postponement of the championships in 2020, the maximum number of contestants in all contests has been increased from 40 to 55 musicians. Contestants that had registered last year were contacted and offered a spot in the upcoming 2021 contests, and the increased number of contestants will still allow for some new registrants this year.
Contest judges, competitors, and spectators also submitted suggestions for improving the contests’ rules and judging criteria, and a contest committee incorporated a number of these recommendations in the International Finger Style Guitar Championship, the Flat Pick Guitar Championship, the Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship and the Bluegrass Banjo Championship.
New registrations will be taken online for the 2021 competitions beginning at 9am Central Time on Thursday, January 14 at https://www.wvfest.com/register/, and will also be accepted by phone or mail.
WVA continues to closely monitor recommendations of national, state and local health agencies related to mass gatherings, and officials are hopeful that conditions will allow for a live outdoor festival this fall. For those who purchased tickets for the 49th Walnut Valley Festival, tickets will be valid for entry in 2021.
WVA Contest Director Karen Deal: “Contestants from around the world have been contacting me since October. They are thrilled the competitions are being planned and are especially excited to get back to Winfield.”