Gathering in the Gap Music Festival

Musical Competition Rules and Criteria


Competition Stage Schedule

Registration Ends          Competition Begins            Category

11:45 a.m.                      12:00  p.m.                         Bluegrass Mandolin

12:15 p.m.                      12:30  p.m.                         Bluegrass Guitar

12:45 p.m.                      1:00    p.m.                         Bluegrass Band

1:15   p.m.                      1:30    p.m.                         Old-time Band

1:45   p.m.                      2:00    p.m.                         Banjo

2:15   p.m.                      2:30    p.m.                         Fiddle



Main Stage and Acoustic Arbor performers receiving compensation are not eligible to compete on any competition stage.


  • Each contestant must fill out a registration form for each competition he/she intends to enter and pay applicable entry fees.
  • Once a category starts, there will be no further registration in that category.
  • Each contestant will play two tunes, one fast and one slow. This may be adjusted according to the number of entries.
  • Medleys are acceptable as long as they do not last for more than 5 minutes.
  • Contestants must announce the name of the tune prior to playing.
  • No tuning or jamming in the area of the stage. No warming-up once upon the stage.
  • If a contestant breaks a string or has other difficulty with his/her instrument, he/she will have the opportunity to correct the problem and then return to the stage. However, if the problem cannot be quickly corrected, the contestant must allow the next player in line to play, and then he/she will be allowed to compete.
  • Singing is not allowed in the individual instrument categories. One back-up instrument will be allowed.
  • Band competition entries must consist of three (3) or more members. Cash awards and certificate will be presented to 1st place winners.
  • Sportsmanship is a must. Any contestant may be disqualified without a refund for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • In the event of a tie, contestants will be challenged to an elimination round.
  • Cash prizes and certificates will be presented for each individual category 1st and 2nd place winners.
  • The following criteria for Judges will be used in scoring the contestants:
    -- Arrangement
    -- Rhythm/Timing
    -- Musicianship (based upon overall performance being tasteful, dynamic, entertaining)
    -- Technique (technical competence including fingering, bowing, picking, etc.)
    -- Stage Presence