Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association


2016 Americana-Roots Duet Contest Official Rules

Notice: Ten duos have registered for the Americana-Roots Duet Contest, so registration has been closed. We will start a waiting list for any interested duos, in case any of the duos become unable to compete. Please email ann@silvercranes.com, if you would like to be added to the waiting list. Thank you.


1.    The contest is limited to 10 duos, registered on a first-come-first-served basis.

2.    Register on-line on the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA) website, www.minnesotabluegrass.org.

3.    Duos must include a $20 entry fee with the completed entry form. The entry fee will be refunded if the contest has filled by the time the entry form is received.

4.    The registration deadline is Monday, August 15, 2016. Registration will not be considered completed until the entry fee has been received.



1.    Duos must consist of two people performing arrangements for two voices and one or two acoustic stringed instruments. Americana “Roots" styles of music including bluegrass, old-time, newgrass, or related music will be accepted.

2.    Individuals may participate in only one duo.

3.    Members of MBOTMA’s board of directors and of the competition planning committee are not eligible to participate in the competition.



1.    Electric instruments are not permitted, with the exception of bass. We will provide all mics, stands, cables, as well as a bass amp, if needed (Gallien-Kruger MB112–II 150 Watt 1x12). Contest rules prohibit any other amplifiers, D.I.s, or electronic instrumentation.

2.    Individuals may play more than one instrument during their duo’s performance. However, each performer must carry his or her instrument(s) onto the stage in one trip.  Microphones will not be repositioned during a duo’s performance to accommodate changing instruments.



1.    Each duo will be allowed a few minutes to set levels and check monitors. A professional stage crew will position the microphones and monitor wedges.

2.    Duos may choose to have separate microphones or to play around a single microphone.  Either method is permitted; neither method will affect scoring.


Contest logistics

1.    Duo members must arrive at the contest site by 2:00 to check in. One duo member will participate in the random drawing that will determine the order of performance.

2.    The contest will consist of two rounds. The five duos earning the highest scores in the preliminary round will advance to the championship round.

3.    Duos will be prepared to perform three vocal duet numbers. They will perform two numbers in the preliminary round and one number in the championship round, should they be selected as finalists.

4.    Duos may introduce themselves and their songs by speaking into the microphone. Duos will be allowed up to four minutes to complete each song selection, including any introduction.

5.    An official timekeeper will track the time of each performance. 30 points will be deducted from duos’ total scores for each minute they go over the time limit.

6.    The championship round will take place after the first round is completed. In the championship round, the top five vocal duets will be invited to return to the stage and perform one song according to the guidelines above.

7.    No one other than contest officials may approach the judges at any time during the contest. It is strictly forbidden for contestants and audience members to speak to contest judges at any time before, during, or after the contest.



1.    Duet Scoring Criteria:

a.     20% Material selection and arrangement (difficulty, originality…)

b.    30% Instrumental performance (rhythm, intonation, dynamics…)

c.     30% Vocal performance (lead and harmony)

d.    20% Stage presence and audience response

2.    Duet Scoring Evaluation

a.     Three judges will assess and score each performance

b.    Each judge may award up to 100 points for each song, for a total possible score of 300 points per song.

c.     After each duet performance, judges will provide completed scorecards to the scorekeepers, who will tally the scores.

d.    Judges will score the preliminary and final round performances separately.

e.    In the event of a tie, preliminary and final round scores will be combined. If the tie is still not broken, the judges will determine the ranking.

f.      Judges’ scores are final. Scores will not be released.