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Attention Contestants!

1. Purchase your contestant ticket here.

2. Fill out your contestant application here.


What are the recent changes?

The most significant are the addition of the Ukulele, 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 who 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, Ukulele, 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. 


What is the best way to Register?

After you've purchased your Contestant ticket, your best and only way to register is using the Online Registration.

Don't forget to pay your contestant fee, use the ticket link to do this.

Can I email or fax my contestant registration form?

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

Which entries are accepted if a category fills up?

None, but we will create a Wait List.  All registrations will be sorted by date sent/submitted, and the earliest will have priority. 

Why do I need to list my back-up players and include their addresses and phone numbers?

Knowing who the back-up players are is important for the Registrar to know should they be backing-up contestants on all the competition stages . For example, in the morning, a back-up player cannot be at both the Fiddle Playoffs or the Singing Playoffs and the same time. This especially applies to our many teachers who are backing-up their students. Additionally, should a back-up player win a prize, we would require their contact information.

It is also important that we know who the backup players are for judging purposes, the correct spelling of their names, and their addresses in case they win. Winners lists are also published. 

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.

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

Yes!  Sorry, but it helps us to avoid any confusion.

How many times can I enter?

Time permitting, 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.

What are the entry fees?

Each contestant, back-up musician or band member, regardless of age, must pay one $30.00 entry fee which covers ALL contest appearances. To put it another way, if you have entered in one or more instrument categories, Singing, Flatfoot Dancing and/or you are in a band, your total entry fee will be $30.00, which includes your admission to the entire festival.  

Ok, I’m registered as a contestant. What time should I check-in?

Information as to when and where you are to check in will be provided in your Contestant Letter, which will be emailed approximately 2 weeks before the Contest. Check in well before your scheduled playing time.
If you have travel or other considerations that restrict the time of day that you can compete, note this on your Registration form.
While checking in, make sure that your name is spelled correctly, your address is correct and that your backup musicians are properly identified. This will be their last chance to indicate that they are to be judged.

How do I know if my entry has been accepted?

After submitting your form and paying your fees, you will receive an email with the acceptance of the registration within a few days.  If the category is full, we will let you know asap.  If you need to withdraw your entry, please email the 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 and sound will be cut.
Be aware that timing begins when you are given the mic, INTRODUCTIONS COUNT!

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.

What if I’ve selected to compete as a BEGINNER or INTERMEDIATE contestant ?

Select the Beginning or Intermediate levels carefully based on your level of expertise,  If, in the opinion of the judges, you are clearly not a beginner or Intermediate player, they will bump you up to a higher level. You will at that time be advised where you will continue in the competition.  Again, select your level carefully as there may not be enough time for you to compete in another category.

What happens if I am bumped up to another level?

Congratulations! You are better than you think you are!  If you are bumped up from the Beginning level, you will compete at the Intermediate level after the last scheduled contestant, time permitting. If you are bumped up from the Intermediate contest, you will compete in the Advanced level contest after the last scheduled contestant, time permitting.

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.



I play professionally or semi-professionally or I won 1st Place in the Advanced Category of some instrument in the past 3 years. Could I enter again with the same Instrument?

Musicians that have won first place in the past 3 years of the TBFC contest are not eligible to compete in the same category.  We encourage you to try a different category or to be a backup instrument for a younger player.


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.

Where do I compete?

We will provide you with all information once your application has been accepted.


Should a category become full, is there a waiting list?

Yes. But we encourage you to sign up early so you know you will have a contestant spot.


If I have more questions, who can I ask?

You may email the contestant registrar

Here’s what to do:

  1. Pay for your contestant ticket.

  2. Complete and submit the online registration form.


  4. Await your confirmation from the Topanga Registrar.

  5. Come win prizes and have fun on Sunday, May 19th, 2024!!


If you have questions, email the registrar at

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