Prairie West Fiddle Contest emphasizes traditional fiddling in a traditional contest format.

Age categories will commence Saturday morning with the top fiddlers in each age category qualifying to compete in the evening Championship Show.  Qualifying fiddlers who do not wish to compete in the Championship are welcome and encouraged to participate and play in the evening show.

2019 PRAIRIE WEST FIDDLE CONTEST RULES - new contest format to be announced soon!



1. Pre Registrations will be accepted.  Registrations may close prior to the contest, if registration limit has been reached.  

2. Contestants may enter only one age category. Age Categories: Junior (12 & under) Youth (17 & under) Adult (18 - 54) Senior (55 + )

3. Three judges will evaluate entries based on intonation, timing, technical ability, style and feel.  Judges decisions are final.

4. Four string fiddles with Standard Tuning will only be allowed. 

5. Emphasis is on traditional fiddling that represents Canadian fiddle styles including: Country, Old Time, Swing, Metis, French Canadian, Bluegrass, Cape Breton etc.  Classical, Jazz, Blues and other non-traditional fiddle styles are not acceptable for this contest.

6. If a contestant plays over the allowed time, a signal will be given to the judges by an official timekeeper, and judging will cease immediately upon the expiration of the time limit.

7. Top finalists from each age category will be eligible to move on to the championship.

8. Order of play will be drawn and posted at the registration desk.

9. In the event of a tie in either the age categories or the championship, contestants involved in the tie will first play a REEL, and if required, a second tune will be a JIG.

10. In case of accidents (broken strings, PA problems etc.), contestants may replay at the discretion of the judges, starting with the tune where the problem commenced. 

11. No electrical amplifiers or pick-ups will be permitted.  Microphones will be provided on stage for the contestants use, and will only be adjusted, if necessary, by contest staff.

12. Competitors may use improvisation while preserving the meter and fundamental structure of the piece.  This contest does not encourage excessive improvisation.  If improvisation is used, competitors will be judged on the extent to which improvisation is effectively employed to reflect traditional fiddling.

13. Failure to abide by any of the contest rules may result in disqualification. 

14. All contestants shall qualify for the People’s Choice award.  


15. Contestants in the Junior category shall play 3 tunes: a. Waltz/Aire b. Jig/March (6/8) c. Reel/Hornpipe (2/4).

16. Contestants in the Youth, Adult, and Senior category shall play 4 tunes: a. Waltz/Aire b. Jig/March (6/8) c. Reel/Hornpipe (2/4) d. Tune of Choice

17. Juniors shall have 4 minutes to complete their tunes.    

18. Youth, Adult and Senior shall have 5 minutes to complete their tunes.
19. Contestants do not register for the Championship class.   Judges will advance the top contestants from each age category.

20. All contestants in the Championship (including Juniors) shall play 4 tunes: a. Waltz/Aire b. Jig/March (6/8) c. Reel/Hornpipe (2/4) d. Tune of Choice

21. Contestants in the Championship shall have 5 min to complete their tunes.

22.  Contestants in the Championship shall not play the same tunes as they played in their age category.

23. Contestants advancing to the Championship class will be scored solely on their performance in the Championship class.
24. Contestants shall have no more than two accompanists.

25. Accompaniment shall be used in the form of chording only. 

26. A house accompanist will be provided.  If the contestant wishes to use the house accompanist, it is advised that they make arrangements with the house accompanist.

27. Clogging your feet is acceptable and is not considered to be one of the accompaniment.

28. An area away from the stage will be provided for rehearsal and tuning.