Fiddlers Contest

The Huron Township Applefest presents the

The Huron Township Applefest invites all fiddlers to participate in the 32nd Annual Michigan State Championship Old-Time Fiddlers Contest on Saturday, October 2nd, at 3:00 pm in New Boston, Michigan.

37283 Huron River Drive, New Boston, Michigan 48164 outdoors
on the Applefest Stage

Contestants must play a waltz, a schottische, a jig and a reel in a manner suitable to Michigan old-time dancing. Contestants will be judged on tempo/timing, intonation, expression and repertoire. There is a non-refundable $10.00 entry fee. The contest begins promptly at 3:00 pm. Contestants register at 2:00 pm and draw for positions at 2:30 pm.

To register Print Application Form HERE and send to:

Huron Applefest
37296 Huron River Drive
New Boston, MI 48164

For more information, contact Jim McKinney,fiddle contest director 734-753-8863 –

  • *$200 First Prize
  • *$100 Second Prize
  • *$50 Third Prize
  • -Plus More Awards & Prizes
  • *Free to Listeners & Observers

The Huron Township Applefest would like to thank our sponsors for making Michigan State Championship Old-Time Fiddlers contest Possible:

  • DoSan’s
    29048Garden Blvd.
    Flat Rock, MI 48134
  • Michigan Jamboree
    8701 East Seven Mile Rd.
    Big Rapids, MI 49307
  • The Les Raber
    Memorial Foundation
    Preserving & promoting
    old-time Michigan fiddling
    1149 Hillview Dr.
    Hastings, MI 49058
  • Psarianos Violins
    79 E. Maple
    Troy, MI 48083
  • Wilson’s Fine Violins
    725 S. Adams Rd.
    Suite 115
    Birmingham, MI 48009

Michigan State Championship Old-Time Fiddlers Contest Rules

  1. Contestants will draw for order of appearance prior to the contest. Contestants must be present and ready to play when their number is called or they will be disqualified.
  2. No electrical or amplified instruments allowed.
  3. Each contestant will play a waltz, a schottische, a jig and a reel in that order.
  4. Tunes that do not meet the definitions below or tunes played out of order will be penalized.
  5. Trick fiddling, cross-tuning, show tunes and novelty tunes such as “Listen to the Mockingbird”, “Orange Blossom Special” and “Black Mountain Rag” are not allowed. Styles of playing other than Michigan old-time fiddling are not acceptable, although the judges may take into account variations in Michigan old-time fiddling.
  6. Each contestant may use one accompanist playing in chord-style rhythm. Contestants may play without accompaniment if they choose. Scores will not be based on the presence or absence of an accompanist.
  7. Contestants and accompanists must play from memory. Sheet music is not allowed on stage.
  8. In the event of an accident beyond the player’s control (such as a broken string), at the judges’ discretion, a replay may be allowed from the point of the incident.
  9. There will be a six- minute time limit. No scoring will take place after the six-minute mark. Contestants may use less playing time if desired.
  10. In the event of a tie, a one-tune playoff will decide the winner. Any tune a contestant has played in a qualifying round or playoff may not be repeated in any subsequent rounds or playoffs.
  11. Any person placing first a total of three times will no longer be eligible to compete.
  12. Contestants will only be identified by number. Contestants are not allowed to speak on stage.
  13. All decisions of the judges are final.

Tune Definitions

a tune in 3/4 time appropriate for waltzing.
a tune in 2/4, 4/4 or 2/2 time appropriate for dancing a schottische.
a tune in 6/8 time appropriate for square or contra dancing.
a tune in 2/2, 4/4 or 2/2 time appropriate for square or contra dancing.

Judging Categories

Rhythm, Tempo & Timing (25 points)
– A steady, danceable tempo with no unevenness, pauses or dropped beats. A pleasant “lift” that makes dancers want to move. This shows the contestant’s ability to move dancers around the floor, rather than display “hot licks”. Excessive speed is discouraged.
Clarity & Intonation (25 Points)
– Notes played clearly with good tone. This shows the contestant’s ability to make pleasant sounds and to play the right note at the right time.
Expression (25 points)
– Use of phrasing, dynamics, ornaments and variation. This shows the contestant’s ability to make the tune their own by putting some of their own style and personality into the tune, however, elements that obscure the dancer’s musical cues are discouraged
Repertoire (25 points)
– Tunes that are appropriate to Michigan old-time fiddling. This shows the contestant’s knowledge of the tunes played by Michigan’s old-time fiddlers, helps to preserve the old tunes and promotes the unique musical heritage of the state of Michigan.

Scoring Guide

  • 5 points – Needs Work
  • 10 points – Fair
  • 15 points – Average
  • 20 points – Good
  • 25 points – Excellent