Frances Folk Gathering 2017 - Competition Rules
There are two competitions at Frances – the individual competitions held in the Competition Tent during the day on the Saturday, and the “Bandemonium” Bands competition held on Saturday evening on the Main Stage. These rules cover both the individual competitions and the Bandemonium.
The Frances Folk Awards 2017 are not restricted to any particular type of musical instrument. However, instruments should be acoustic and not electric, although it is acceptable to play acoustic instruments through microphones to boost their sound levels. Amplification will be provided at the event. See "Acoustic Instruments" below.
NOTE: Invited paid guest performers are ineligible to compete in the competitions listed below.
The music or songs used will be based on traditional music, and music judged to be within the Folk style, or else the style of a particular specified genre.
Sections for 2017:
Individual (Saturday daytime)
- Open Vocal
- Intermediate Vocal
- Open Ukulele
- Ukulele Ensemble
- Open String
- Intermediate String
- Open Wind
- Intermediate Wind
- Open Slather
- Intermediate Encouragement
- Busking (Under 16)
Bandemonium (Saturday Night)
Any band of at least 4 people playing any kind of instruments, acoustic or electric (to perform in the Main Tent on Saturday evening).
Individual Section Entries:
All Sections: Winners of a section from the previous year are not eligible to enter the same section for the following year. However, they may enter other sections (Maximum of 2).
Note: A Performer may only enter a maximum of 2 Sections.
Open Sections: For all musicians of any ability, professional status, or qualifying instrument.
Intermediate Sections: For singers and musicians who do not play in a professional or semi-professional capacity - that is, they do not earn money for their playing.
Learners’ Encouragement: Open to learners of any age with less than 12 months of singing or playing the instrument they enter with. Please be sensitive with this. It’s a learners’ encouragement award.
Buskers - Under 16: Individual, duo or trio (all players must be within the age range, no additional accompanist allowed).
Instrument-Specific Categories: These categories are set up essentially for the instrument described and are intended to include the following...
- String: Guitar, banjo (any number of strings), mandolin, fiddle or its derivative (viola, cello etc). But this year, not Ukulele – there’s a separate category for them.
- Wind: Any mouth-blown instrument including whistle, flute, recorder, harmonica. An exception is bagpipes which are encouraged to enter under "Open Slather".
- Ukulele: For any kind of recognisable Ukulele.
- Open Slather: This is the "Catch all" section for anything that doesn't fit the instrument-specific categories. There can be any number of musicians or instruments (including just one) whether or not they qualify in the specific section - except that... a solo player of a qualifying instrument (fiddle, guitar, banjo etc) must enter that specific category. If you're a fiddle player (normally in "String" section) wanting to enter Open Slather you'll need to find some others to join you and enter as an ensemble.
- Bandemonium Entries: Individuals may enter as a part of more than one band, but any band containing more than two members from another band will be deemed to be that other band. In other words, a four-piece band cannot substitute one of their members and enter again as another band!
The decision of whether an entrant is suitable for any given category is entirely at the discretion of the adjudicator.
All performances are to be solo with the exception of Open and Intermediate Vocal, Ukulele Ensemble and Open Slather. Vocalists can either accompany themselves, have a separate accompanist, or do both.
All instruments will be played acoustically – into a microphone. Contestants will not be permitted to 'plug-in' to the power or the sound system (except for ‘Bandemonium’ — see below).
A sole exception to this rule is that a "Vocal" category contestant may have a keyboard accompanist. This exception is to encourage vocalists accustomed to performing with a piano accompaniment - to be able to do so. However, any accompanying instrument must be carried onto the stage and off again for the performance, and it must be self-amplified. A power connection will be available.
Contestants cannot bring their own amplification, nor have any control over the PA provided.
Contestants will have an allotted time of 4 minutes for their performance. (Except for Buskers who have 15 minutes)
You may play a single tune/song or medley of your own choice - provided it qualifies under "Traditional Music" above.
Your total performance, including introduction must not exceed the time limit for performances in that category.
A bell will be rung for you to begin and again 30 seconds prior to the end of your time. You may request the bell to not ring if you wish.
Marks will be deducted for poor timekeeping. Exceeding the time will reduce your score and be likely to affect your placing.
Busking will take place outside the Post Office/shop and will be judged there. Busking may be done as a solo or as a duo or a trio. Buskers will play to the public outside the General Store for a minimum of 15 minutes. All entries will play simultaneously.
Judging is by a chosen panel of judges who will assign points according to various criteria. These criteria are:
- Introduction - 5 points
Guidelines: clear speaking; title of music; information about the music e.g. the genre, history etc; info about performer.
- Technical Skills and Abilities - 30 Points
Guidelines: instrument in tune with itself, performer sings or plays in tune; rhythmically clear and accurate; performer able to manage tricky bits accurately and comfortably; not obvious mistakes that stall performance; instrument [and/or voice] used effectively.
- Creativity and Interpretation - 40 points
Guidelines: sings/plays musically; plays with correct performance for genre; tells "the story" of the music; dynamically interesting; interaction with audience
- Judges' Appreciation - 15 points
Guidelines: subjectivity - personal opinion of judge about the performance that is over and above the other criteria – i.e. did the judge actually enjoy the performance
- Overall Performance - 10 points
Guidelines: completion on time; acknowledgement of the audience applause; body language during performance;
Please note there are no points assigned for the "difficulty" of the performance - or the instrument played. However, your skill as a musician will obviously have a bearing on your score.
Points assigned to these criteria are accumulated into a total. The person with the highest total in any category is the winner.
In the event of a draw, a resolution will be implemented by the adjudicator to determine the winner, which may (or may not) include a ‘play-off’.
The adjudicator will preside in the event of any dispute and be responsible for handling the score sheets and checking score totals.
In all respects, the adjudicator's decision is final.
The Bandemonium Section will be held on the Saturday evening and judged at the end of the event. Bands must consist of a minimum of four people. Musicians are permitted to plug into the sound system in this event.
Each band must have at least four members. No more than two of the members can be in another Bandemonium entry. This is to stop the same band entering more than once under different names.
While there are no direct judging criteria surrounding band membership, the inclusion of youth is encouraged and will be "noticed" by judges.
Bands may be of any professional status.
All prizes will be awarded to the registered musician. For entries with multiple performers (eg in "Open Slather") the prize will be awarded to the registered contact person.
Individual winners will be announced at the end of the competition - usually early on Saturday evening.
Bandemonium winners are announced immediately after the Bandemonium competition.
How to Enter
Entries open on the website December 1st and will close at 10am on the Saturday of the competition.
You are required to register on the website with your name, email address and phone number and your chosen password.
Once you are registered you can then enter up to 2 of the competitions (provided you didn't win the same category last year).
You should remember the password you use so you can log back in to check (or change, if you wish) details of your entry.
On the entry form you will be asked for a performance description – you should put one in. This performance description is what the Stage Compere will read as they introduce you. If you later wish to change your details, you can log back in at any time and make changes.
If you later decide for some reason not to participate, please log in and remove your entry.
People with no Internet access can ask a friend to enter them.
Performance order will be based on the order in which entries are received on the web site. If you enter early, you will perform early within your category.
All categories and performers will be posted on a notice board near the competition tent on Saturday morning. It is your responsibility to take note of the time your category begins. Remember, if someone ahead of you fails to show, your performance time moves another 5 minutes earlier!
Performers cannot swap with others. If you are also performing elsewhere at the Festival, make sure you are free for your competition performance at the time you’re due.
There is one single reason why you may be allowed to reschedule your competition performance - that is in the event that we have programmed you to perform elsewhere in the Gathering at the same time - for example a stage performance or a workshop. If there's a clash, we will try to resolve it for you.
Competitors must be in the immediate vicinity of the stage at the time they are called. If they are called to the stage and are not there, then they will forfeit their right to perform.
In this case the following registered competitors will be called until all registered competitors have either performed or failed to show. After this, the waiting list competitors will be called (in order) until the maximum number of performances for that category have been given.
A registered competitor may request to be added to the waiting list if they should arrive after their performance time - but they cannot perform in any other time slot until all other performances - including the existing waiting list - are complete.
The no-show of any performer does not open an opportunity for another to take their place.
The organisers may make changes if they believe it to be necessary. Any changes will be posted on the competitions page of the web site. We will endeavour - but cannot promise - to notify existing entrants of any changes. Best to keep an eye on the website between now and the Gathering. Also, please make sure your contact details are correct when you enter.
Please get in touch with us via the contacts page.