World Virtual Bluegrass Banjo Contest launches next week

Following on the success of last month’s virtual flatpicking competition, two of our nation’s premier instructors of traditional music, Steve Kaufman and Marcy Marxer, have launched a full series of online championships, under the rubric of World Virtual Acoustic Contests.

These will include tournaments for guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and fiddle over the next few months, with all entries submitted and judged on video online. With contest festivals and fiddlers conventions canceled this year in most of the US, Marcy and Steve hope to recreate as best they can the fun and competitive spirit that has animated these events this past 100 years.

Just announced to start next week is the World Virtual Bluegrass Banjo Contest, so named as banjo pickers around the globe are eligible and encouraged to participate online. Judging will take place in two rounds, with preliminaries running from November 9-15, and a finals round November 19-20. Judging will be done by Scott Vestal, Gary Davis, and Matthew Davis, three of the most acclaimed five stringers of the past 35 years.

During round 1, contestants will submit a single video of one tune no more than three minutes in length. From these, the judges will choose a top five who will go on into the finals. There each competitor will submit a video with two tunes, running no more than five minutes in length. The actual judging of these five finalists will take place in a live stream presentation on November 21 at 7:00 p.m. (EST).

There the top three finishers will be chosen, and cash prizes awarded.

An entry fee of $20 is required to submit, with $500 going to the first prize winner, $250 to second, and $100 to third. First prize also includes an invitation to compete in the National Banjo Contest in Winfield, KS next year.

Complete contest rules and an entry form can be found online.

The livestream on November 21 will be broadcast on the World Virtual Bluegrass Banjo Contest Facebook page.

Sounds like fun!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.