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String Band Contest

View the entries here:


You can watch even if you don't have a Facebook account.

Registration for the BOTMC String Band Contest is now CLOSED.  

Your video must be uploaded between 9:00 am PDT on Sun. Sept. 20th and 3:00 pm PDT on Tues. Sept. 22.  Upload your video here: BOTMC Contest Videos. You will need to join the FB group in order to upload your video.  If you cannot submit via Facebook, you can submit your video via YouTube. You will receive complete uploading instructions (including links) with your registration confirmation; confirmations will begin to go out after Sept. 3.

The winners will be announced towards the end of the Saturday night concert (Sat. Sept. 26)
A few photos and videos of past contest winners


1. Any style of old-time acoustic music is acceptable and it's fine to include singing - old-time, bluegrass, swing, Irish, jug band, Klezmer, Cajun, Greek, Mexican, pan-ethnic satire, etc. etc.


2. Bands must consist of at least 3 instruments (not necessarily 3 different people) It's good, but not required, for each band to include at least one banjo or fiddle.  No electric instruments, pickups, drums, or recorded music will be permitted.  You can use Acapella, Z--m or other apps to make your video, and play all the instruments yourself (or have something inanimate play them). 


3. Contestants may not play in more than 2 bands.




5. Bands will be judged on rhythm/timing/pace, intonation/tonal qualities, expression/soul, musicianship/style, difficulty/technique and stage presence/ease and confidence in performance.  And also, in recognition of the challenges presented with this COVID era string band contest, extra credit will be given for creativity and originality in presentation. 


6. Decisions by our fearless and incorruptible judges are final. 

Video Guidelines:

  1. Please send ONE song/tune. 

  2. MANDATORY:  You MUST start your video by saying the name of your band, the name of the song/tune, the date, and indicate that this video is for the BOTMC String Band Contest.  

  3. Maximum 4 minutes total, including spoken intro, and remember, less is more!

  4. Your video does not have to be fancy or high-tech. Unless you are using Acapella or Z--m, it's fine to do your song/tune all the way through, without any editing.  

  5. We encourage you to get creative! Puppets, crankies, dancing, costumes, etc. are all fine, but please keep the musical content old-time.  

  6. Please maintain safety precautions when making your video.  If your band is not a pod, please use physical distancing, masks etc. It’s also fine to use Acapella, Z--m, etc to make your video.




Step One:  Register - A link to the registration form will be posted here, in the evening of Aug. 31. 


We will start accepting registrations at 9 am PDT on Tuesday, Sept. 1st and continue until full - first come first served! Links for where/ how to submit your video entry will be sent (after Weds. Sept 3) along with confirmation of your registration. This year, we will be asking for a minimum of $10 registration fee, which will be in the form of a donation to Consider the Homeless, a nonprofit serving homeless people in Berkeley, in honor of the homeless who live in Civic Center Park, where the contest is usually held.


Step Two: Make your video


You can actually do that before registering, but be sure your video fits with the requirements below, in the Rules and Guidelines section. There are some very specific requirements.  We encourage you to get creative, have fun and PLEASE maintain safety precautions while making your video.


Step Three:  Submit your video

Videos must be submitted between 9 am PDT on Sun. Sept. 20 and 3 pm PDT on Tues. Sept. 22 . There are two ways to submit:  via Facebook (preferred) or via a YouTube link.  On Sept. 19 (the day before video submissions start) we will send all the pre-registered folks the link for Facebook and the email address to which to send your YouTube link.


If you submit your video after 3 PM PDT on Tues. Sept. 22, it will not be considered.



If you are one of the winners, we will contact you on Sept 24 in the evening or Sept. 25 in the morning, to get your original video so that we can incorporate it into our winners announcement.  We’ll do this using Drop Box.  So, please keep that video file somewhere where it’s easy to find!


Winners will be announced on Saturday night Sept. 26 at the online BOTMC concert.  The concert starts at 6:00 PM PDT, so the announcement will happen between 8:00 and 8:30 PDT.



Each of the top three bands will receive a beautiful one-of-a-kind ribbon, handmade by Robin Fischer, and a swag bag.  The #1 band will also receive all-festival passes for next year's 2021 BOTMC (one pass per band member)

List of Past Contest Winners

Video Guidelines

A few videos of past BOTMC contestants.  Top to bottom:  Hairy Garrison, 3rd place winner in 2019 (thumbnail photo by Mike Melnyk, video by Mike Couzens).  Lars and In Charge, winner of "Old World Old Time" prize in 2019.  Magnolia Serenaders, first place winners in 2009.  Getaround Gals, contestants, 2013.

Contest Pix and Vids

Left hand poster art (below) by Rick Shubb.  Right hand poster art by unknown.  Civic Center Park was known as Provo Park for a time during the anti-war movement, after the progressive political group of that name which was started in Amsterdam.

Provo 69flyer.jpg
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