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What are the recent changes?

The most significant are the addition of the Ukulele Performance, Songwriting, and the Step Dancing competitions.

Where do I get more information about the Step Dancing Competition?

See the Step Dance Page or click HERE

Who may enter the contest?

The contest is open to virtually anyone that can compete in one of the defined categories. The beginning, intermediate and advanced levels allow fair competition among those at a similar level. With the exception of those professional acts appearing on the main stage the day of the contest, we invite all to participate and, if you don’t win this year, you will raise the level of your performance and be better prepared for next year.

What is considered an instrument category?

An Instrument Category is considered Fiddle, Traditional Banjo, Bluegrass Banjo, Mandolin, Flat-picking Guitar and Other Instruments.


Are electric instruments allowed?

ONLY ACOUSTIC INSTRUMENTS are allowed in all contest categories. No electrified instruments of any kind are permitted.

What instruments fall into the OTHER INSTRUMENTS Category?

All instruments other than those listed above. Examples of Other Instruments are therefore Dulcimer, Dobro, Bass and Finger-Style Guitar to name a few. If there are a sufficient number of entries, Finger-Style Guitar will have its own category.


What is the best way to Register ?

Your best and only way to register is using the  Online Registration.

Can I email or fax my contestant registration form?

There is no FAX machine available, please use Online Registration.

How many times may a back-up player be judged?

A person may back-up any number of players, but may only be judged once in each Backup category. 

Are there any restrictions on competing or backing up a contestant?

When a fiddle contestant is being judged no other fiddles should be played on the stage, whether being judged as backup or not.


Do I need to fill out a separate form for each entry?

Yes! It is difficult, and often not clear as to the exact entry request when processing multiple entries on the same form. This situation often arises when an entry form contains both a band entry and an individual entry.


How many times can I enter?

A contestant may compete in up to two different instrument categories (see above under What is considered an instrument category?) and also be entered in singing. This does not restrict you from performing in a band. In other words, each entrant may back up others, play in a band, and compete in more than one instrument category if time allows (TWO or more Online registrations are required)
Anyone may enter the Step Dancing competition no matter what other categories you compete in, as long as it does not create a timing conflict for you.

How do I know if my entry has been accepted?

As soon as you finish the online registration you will receive a confirmation email from the TBFC Registrar.

How much time do I get to compete?

Instrument categories, Singing and Other Instruments are allotted three (3) minutes. Bands must play two songs consisting of one instrumental and one vocal, both with a banjo or a fiddle, not to exceed a total time of six (6) minutes. Your selections MUST be completed within the specified minutes or judges will deduct ten (10) points.

The Step Dancing category is described on it's own page

What level should I enter: Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced?

Except in the Step Dancing competition, your level should be determined by your expertise, not your age. Please see the "Judging Criteria" in each category for additional information. Choose your level carefully. If you have won 1st, 2nd or 3rd place, you may not enter at a lower level on that instrument, but you may compete at a lower level on a different instrument. If you have won first place TWO Times at either the beginning or intermediate levels, you MUST enter in the next level.

If I’ve won First Place in the Beginning or Intermediate categories in the past, can I enter at the same level the following year?

If you have won first place in the beginning or intermediate categories two times, you are required to advance to the next level.

What type of song or instrumental selection may I perform?

Any song may be performed but in general, songs should be chosen that will allow the judges to rate your performance and the quality of your playing or singing.

In the Singing category contestants are judged on Pitch, Enunciation, Sound Quality, Rhythm, Style, Material and Stage Presence.

Songs should not be profane, rushed or excessively loud.

Lyrics should be clear and understandable.

Objectionable material or interpretation will result in performance termination and disqualification.


Should I inform anyone as to my song selection?

No notification or approval is required but read the song criteria above.


May I sing a cappella?

Singing contestants may be accompanied or sing a cappella.

May a group enter in Singing?

Groups may compete in the Singing category and will be judged together as one.

If I have more questions, who can I ask?

You may email the contestant registrar 

Here’s what to do:

  1. Prepare your video, upload it to YouTube.

  2. Complete and submit the online registration form.

  3. Await your confirmation from the Topanga Registrar.


If you have questions, email the registrar at

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