Rules, Procedures, and Details
Eligibility: Open to all those who pre-register and are paid MerleFest ticket holders only. Advertised, paid performers of MerleFest 2013, or previous champions of the contest may not enter. Registrants must follow the procedures outlined below, and final participants' order will be selected at random.
Format: Order of appearance will be determined by drawing a number one-half hour before the contest begins.
In the first round, each contestant will play two instrumental numbers. Many participants choose to play one standard or traditional tune and one original or an original interpretation of a non-original tune. Medleys of tunes are not permitted. A single accompanist is permitted though not required and accompanists are not permitted a solo performance.
For the final round, each finalist will play two numbers.
If there are nine or less registered, contestants will play three tunes and judges will place winners without an additional tune.
Judging: In an effort to judge the contests objectively and equally, the following criteria will be considered by the judges and assigned point value in each area (final score cards will not be given out):
- Arrangement (40 Points): Contestant's version of the tune selected. Is it appropriate to the tune and instrument? Difficulty and originality will be considered.
- Execution and Tuning (40 Points): Fingering, picking, and dynamics will be considered. Is the guitar in tune?
- Spirit (10 Points): The music should be played with life and feeling rather than appearing listless or dragging.
- Overall Impression (10 Points): The general effect of the contestant's performance.
Additional Rules and Regulations:
- Contestants may not speak into the microphone.
- Contestants must play only acoustic guitars. No electrical instruments will be allowed for contestants or accompanists.
- Contestants may have one rhythm instrument player for accompaniment. Contestants will not be allowed to take two guitars for their own use on stage.
- MerleFest and the Doc Watson Guitar Championship reserves the right to eliminate contestants whose style of playing and selection of material is not in keeping with the flavor of the festival.
- A medley of tunes is not permitted.
- Contestants may not repeat a song due to broken strings.
- All contestants must follow the registration procedures.
- All contestants must play with a FLAT PICK. No finger picking will be allowed.