BC Old TIme Fiddler Association Contest Rules


1. Contestants must play a Waltz, a Jig, and a Breakdown (Tunes in 2/4, 4/4 time; ie hornpipe, reel, polka, two-step, hoedown are accepted) in that order. All tunes must be played in the Canadian old-time style. In the final round of play, in the Championship Class only, contestants must play a Waltz, a Jig, a Breakdown (as defined above), and a Tune of Choice in that order. A penalty of ten (10) points will be deducted from the score sheet total if the tunes are not played in proper order, or if an improper tune is played.

2. A maximum time of four (4) minutes will be allowed for the three tunes and five (5) minutes for the four tunes. This time will begin when the contestant starts to play. This time will begin when the contestant starts to play. Judging will only be made on the first four (4) or five (5) minutes of play as appropriate. A signal will be made evident to the judges and the contestant to indicate that the time limit has been reached.

3. Contestants must play different tunes for each round of play. No tune may be repeated, even in the event of a tie playoff. A contestant who repeats a tune will lose all points for that tune. The Junior (12 and under) and Little Junior (9 and under) categories ONLY may repeat the same tunes for the second round of play. The Little Junior (9 and under) to play two tunes one slow tune and a quicker tune. A second round of play for Little Junior will be at the discretion of the branch holding the contest. 4. Only standard tuned 4 string violins may be used in the competition. Double bowing, sometimes called Cross Shuffle or Double Bowing is allowed, but must be kept to a minimum.

5. The microphone must be moved to suit the contestant.

6. No more than two accompanists will be allowed and they must chord only. An electric bass, and/or electric piano, if a regular piano is not available, may be used. All other instruments must be acoustic.

7. There will be an area away from the stage for tuning and rehearsing. No warm-up time will be allowed on the stage.

8. If, after the final round, two or more players in the same category are tied, they will play one tune only, a Jig . If a second tune is needed to decide a winner, it will be a Reel. If a third is needed it will be a Jig and this alternate selection will be extended if need be. No tiebreaker will be used after a preliminary round.

9. In the event of an accident beyond the player’s control, such as a broken string, etc., that player may replay. In the event of unforeseen circumstances, which would prohibit the contest from proceeding otherwise, the contest committee can opt for open judging.

10. Judging will be done by three competent judges and will be based on tone, timing, rhythm, and old time fiddling ability, style, and danceability. Judges are not required to explain scores or standing. They are not responsible for disqualification, which is the function of the contest committee.

11. Anyone who appears intoxicated may not be allowed to play

12. Prize money and categories in any contest will be determined by the contest committee responsible for that particular contest

13. If a contest is designated as a Provincial Contest, only residents of British Columbia are eligible to compete in the Championship Class. Those contestants must be able to provide evidence of three months consecutive residence in British Columbia immediately prior to the contest day.

14. Contestants shall not be allowed to use printed music in competitions.

15. Qualifying and final rounds will be scored independently with the final round delivering the placements.

16. Categories and age requirements:

1. Championship: Any Age
2. Open: Any Age
3. Senior: 65 and over
4. Intermediate: 18 – 64 inclusive
5. Youth: 17 and under
6. Junior: 12 and under
7. Little Junior: 9 and under

17. Member branches holding a Fiddle Contest shall name their categories exactly as above, but may delete or add categories such as Beginners, Golden Age, Twin, or Novice to the list.

18. Contestants may enter only one category (except twin fiddle or harmony) of his or her choice according to playing ability and age or other requirements listed in the rules.

19. Contestants who win in any adult category for two consecutive years in one location (same branch) must either move up to the next higher category or not compete there for one year. The Provincial Contest will be considered separately and the two consecutive years would apply to the Provincial Contest only.

20. Failure on the part of a contestant to abide by any of these rules will result in disqualification of the contestant. Disqualification decisions are to be made by the contest committee only.

21. Any Branch of the B.C.O.T.F.A. hosting a contest must abide by these rules.

22. In the event that there is only one contestant in any category, that contestant may be asked to move to another category.

Revised September, 2023



For a downloadable version of the Current Rules listed above, click here