The Contests

We are lucky to have Virginian Tara Linhardt hosting the contests again here at the Oldtone Roots Music Festival. Tara is a veteran of many festival contests, an educator, journalist, and the co-host and production coordinator of The Mountain Music Project: A Musical Odyssey from Appalachia to Himalaya Film.

Tara will be teaching workshops this year at Oldtone, and her workshops, jams, classes and gatherings in Westchester can be found on her website: www.taralinhardt.com. We're proud to have Tara as the Host/MC for the Contests at our Northeast Fiddlers Convention in June at the Hancock Shaker Village in Hancock, MA.

The Oldtone Roots Music Festival 2018 Judges will be Ryan Drickey, Nick Reeb, Kalia Yeagle, Dwayne Brooke.


Dwayne Brooke

Dwayne Brooke, Harpers Ferry, VA, is a versatile guitarist, singer and talented songwriter. He has fronted the Woodshedders, the host band for the Watermelon Park Festival in Virginia.

Nick Reeb

Nick Reeb is a versatile fiddler who performs regularly with various artists. Nick was mentored by fiddle legends Bob Kunkle and Kenny Sidle. Nick is a member of King Wilkie, Six Deadly Venoms, and Walker's Run. He has performed and recorded with Demolition String Band, Robin and Linda Williams, Cosmic American Derelicts, and Abby Hollander Band. Nick's current projects include the traditional The Cornfed Dogs and unique newgrass and Americana band Big Draw.


Kalia Yeagle

Kalia Yeagle's (fiddle, guitar, vocal with Bill and the Belles) expressive and versatile fiddling is quickly positioning her at the forefront of a new generation of acoustic musicians. She takes inspiration from her upbringing in Alaska, where long winters and strong, diverse communities have produced a music scene unlike any other. Her music is undeniably of the mountains, both the Chugach and the Blue Ridge. As a scholar of Appalachian Studies, she studied the rich musical heritage of the region with special interest in early country musics pioneering female artists.

Ryan Drickey

Ryan Drickey plays fiddle across the country and around the world with the Colorado based bluegrass/americana band called FY5. He is steeped in the traditions of American old-time, bluegrass, and Swedish fiddle. Ryan lives in Beacon, NY.


Contest Rules

Contestant Sign Up is REQUIRED! Sign Up Sheet will be at the main gate starting Thursday of the festival. Only those with a ticket (including volunteers) may sign up for a contest. Space is limited.

Judged Contests for the following categories*:

Dobro (if we have a minimum of 6 contestants)






2018 Prizes are:

Band 1st Prize- $100 CASH and a Main Stage set at the 2019 Oldtone Roots Music Festival! with artist passes for your band next year!

1st Runner Up - Oldtone Merch Bag

Instrument Categories 1st Prize: 1 Full Camping ticket to the 2019 Oldtone Roots Music Festival, 1 ticket to the 2019 N.E. Fiddlers Convention, Oldtone Merch Bag

Instrument Categories 2nd Prize:

Oldtone Merch Bag

The General Rules: 

Two song maximum per contestant in a category

Songs can be no longer that 3 minutes each

No talking into the microphones

Only one accompanying rhythm instrument is permitted (except in Band Competition)

Contestants may sign up for more than one category

Only ticket holders (including volunteers) can participate

Contestant must show respect to their fellow contestants, the judges, the MC, and the venue.

The winner of the band contest will only get artist passes for the next year for those members participating in the contest.


Genre differences such as Old Time and Bluegrass are are judged together in a single category.

Contests start in this order: Dobro, Mandolin, Guitar, Banjo, Fiddle then Band..

*If we do not receive the required quota of contestants per instrument category, a category may be cancelled at any time.

Contests times subject to change starting about 9:30am Saturday morning, Contestants should arrive at Main Stage at 9:15 am and sign in with Tara.

Additional 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

*Songs/Tunes must be traditional bluegrass, old time, or string band style material and such concepts as tone, taste, timing, skill, and presentation will be considered in the judging.

*Bands must include either a mandolin, banjo, or fiddle.

*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 Productions and its' affiliates free of liability for any and all damages resulting from participation in the contest.

*Contestants for the individual and the band contests all need to sign by 7PM Friday night to be registered in the contests. Registration happens on site only. There is no preregistration.

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

*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.

*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 2017 Contest Winners were:


First Prize: Old Sky

Second Prize: Christian Apuzzo Band


First Prize: Scotty Leach

Second Prize: Alex Kramer


First Prize:Dave Babssin

Second Prize: Christian Apuzzo


First Prize: Kevin Fennessey


First Prize: Gary Beekman


First Prize: Will Mosheim

Second Prize: Nora Brown