Consistent with the spirit of openness and innovation that has made the Neo-traditionalBand Contest an important part of the Appalachian String Band Music Festival, this year we are making some changes to the Neo-traditionalBand Contest, and offering some new related programming.
Ribbons for Best Original Compositions: In addition to all prizes awarded as in previous years for the Neo-traditionalBand Contest, the contest will also award ribbons (but no prize money) for best New Composition Tune, and best New Composition Song, presented by a band competing in the preliminary round of the Neo-traditionalBand Contest. This is not a separate contest; rather, these are additional prizes offered to contestants in the Neo-traditionalBand Contest. The composer (or at least one co-composer) must perform as part of the band presenting the tune or song to be judged for this award. All other Neo-traditionalBand Contest rules continue to apply, including the rule that a person cannot compete in both the Traditional and Neo-traditionalBand contests.
Clarified Judging Criteria: This year the judging criteria will state explicitly what has been unspecified but desired in the past -- that highest marks in the Neo-traditionalBand Contest will be given to bands that creatively and skillfully combine some fundamental essence of traditional old-time music (e.g., repertoire, style/spirit, and/or instrumentation) with alternative techniques and various musical styles in their presentation. Contestants are welcome to present string band music that does not draw from Appalachian old-time music traditions, but may not score as high on the “creativity and versatility” component of the judge’s scoring.