Bring it!!!

oldtone Band & Instrument contests!

Saturday, Sept. 7

Categories include:

Band Contest :: Fiddle :: Guitar :: Banjo :: Mandolin

And new this year we will have a

Flatfoot/Clogging Contest

sponsored by Leo Boards

Hosted by Tara Linhardt

Individual Instrument Contests will begin promptly at 10:00 AM. Contestants should be there at 9:30 to sign in. Instrument contests start in this order: mandolin, flatpick guitar, banjo, fiddle, and flatfoot/clogging. Band Contests will begin immediately following the Individual Contests so the bands should be standing by. 

If there are spaces still available a sign-up sheet will be located at the Oldtone Merchandise Tent at 4:00pm Thursday. Ticket holders may pre-register by emailing  You must have a ticket or be a volunteer at the festival in order to participate. There are a limited number of spaces available in each category!

Contest Guidelines

*Each instrument contestant should plan to play for no more than 3 minutes. Please prepare 2 entrees, just in case.

*No electric instruments or drums.

*Instrument contestants may have one person for accompaniment.

*Remember, concepts such as tone, taste, timing, skill, and presentation will be considered in the judging. 

*Anyone participating in the contests agree that their image or music may be used in photo, audio, or video for use in festival promotion. All contestants agree to hold Oldtone Festival and its affiliates free of liability for any and all damages resulting from participation in the contest.

*We encourage contestants for both the instrument and band contests to pre-register by emailing If space allows, you can sign up when you arrive at Oldtone (sign up at the Oldtone Merchandise tent), but we cannot guarantee there will still be space available! 

*The Band contest will start directly after the Individual contests are finished, so pay attention to what is going on with the contests.

*Contestants should remember that contests are fun and friendly. The contest coordinator has the final say. There will be no disputes, quarrels, or arguments. Have fun and good luck!

*The Oldtone Band Contest includes all band types in the one category. There are limited spaces, and each band will have 5 minutes to play. Please prepare two songs, just in case.

Band 1ST PRIZE- $100 CASH and a Main Stage set at the 2018 Oldtone Roots Music Festival with artist passes for your band in 2020.

1st Runner-Up - Oldtone Festival Gift Bag

Instrument 1ST PRIZE-
One full festival pass to 2020 Oldtone Roots Music Festival and Gift Bag
1st Runner Up- Oldtone Festival Gift Bag


Alex Leach


From the age of nine, Alex has been a fixture in the Bluegrass realm. He got his start with a local roots radio station, WDVX, based out of Clinton, TN. A two time SPBGMA "DJ of the Year" by the time he was 15, a young Alex was featured on CMT's "Big Ticket," the BBC, and Peter Jennings' "ABC World News Tonight." This February (2019) marked 20 years of Alex sending good, ole traditional bluegrass music through the airwaves at WDVX.

At 19 Alex began working with bluegrass legend, Larry Gillis as a member of His Hard-Driving Bluegrass Band. He traveled the long roads and had many adventures with the group. It was during this time that he wrote his hit, "Mountain Heartache" with then-bass player Rafe Waters.

After five years with Larry Gillis, Alex was offered a once-in-a-lifetime position with The Clinch Mountain Boys, now being led by Ralph Stanley II, son of the legendary Dr. Ralph Stanley. In April 2014, Alex was given the opportunity to play on the Grand Ole Opry with Dr. Ralph, himself.

Phil Zimmerman

Phil Zimmerman

Phil developed his multi-instrumentalist chops as a solo performer at the University of Rochester, and has won regional contests for bluegrass and clawhammer banjo, guitar and mandolin. He’s a founding member of Connecticut’s ground-breaking eclectic string band, Last Fair Deal, now in their 46thyear of acclaimed public performances, and is the lead singer and mandolinist with The Bluegrass Characters, founded by Stacy Phillips in 2011. For ten years, Phil played mandolin and sang lead with Connecticut’s premier traditional bluegrass band, Traver Hollow. He also performed Old-Time music with Stacy Phillips in Heroes of Tradition, and with Phil Rosenthal and Bluegrass Union. Phil was Music Director of both Mandolin Camp North and Banjo Camp North from 2007 to 2018, helped reorganize Music Camps North in 2015, serving as President until May of 2018. Phil has been on the faculty of Bluegrass University at Podunk, Jenny Brook, and Thomas Point Bluegrass Festivals, and has taught mandolin and banjo workshops at the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival every year since 2006.


Nick Reeb

Now based in New York City, Nick grew up in Granville, Ohio and was mentored by local fiddle legends Bob Kunkle and Kenny Sidle. Nick is best known as a member of King Wilkie, Six Deadly Venoms, and Walker's Run. He has also performed and recorded with Demolition String Band, Robin and Linda Williams, Cosmic American Derelicts, and Abby Hollander Band. Nick's current projects include powerful traditional bluegrassers The Cornfed Dogs as well as bluegrass and old-time crusaders Big Draw.