CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR OIBF 2019 Youth Instrument Champions! Pictured with Byron Berline (L) and Ron Mashore (R).

Youth Band Competition

OIBF invites YOU to compete this year! It is a great experience and winners get to appear on the Main Stage – so get together, tune up, and enter the competition!

Saturday, October 14th, 2023
9:00 am – 9:45 am    Youth Band Competition Registration
10:00 am – Noon       Youth Band Competition

Here are all the rules and info you’ll need to prepare for the competition, sign up, and compete. 

ATTENTION:  Previous Youth Band Winners are welcome and encouraged to compete in the band contest for as many years as they want if they comply with the rules stated below.    

Mary & Rambler Parker – 2017 Youth Band Champions

The Contest is conducted on the Youth Stage in the Youth Tent beginning at 10:00 pm on Saturday of the festival. Contestants may register for the contest Saturday morning of the festival in the Youth Tent between 9:00 am. and 9: 45 am.  If there are not 2 entries, the contest  will not be held.  The competition will begin at 10:00 am Saturday inside the Youth Tent. Order of contestants will be decided by the committee chairman.

Bands entering the competition must be comprised of two or more persons with at least one person eighteen years old or younger. The Youth Band Competition is open to all musicians 18 years or younger on the day of the contest except those who are performing as a paid entertainer on any stage except the Cottonwood Creek Campground Stage at the Oklahoma’s International Bluegrass Festival (OIBF).

Contestants MUST HAVE A VALID WRISTBAND for Saturday or Weekend. (Note: festival rules permit free admission for youth 12 and under with WRISTBANDED parent; WRISTBANDED adult must accompany contestants 12 and under at the championship contests.)

It is OIBF policy that paid entertainers on any OIBF stage except the Cottonwood Creek Camp Stage NOT ACCOMPANY CONTESTANTS.

Band members must play traditional acoustic bluegrass instruments. Electronic instruments and amplification are not allowed.  The single exception is that an electric bass guitar may be used independent of the festival’s sound system. Judges reserve the right to score only competitors whose style of playing and selection of material is in keeping with the flavor of the Bluegrass festival.

Competitors will play a maximum of three Bluegrass style tunes.  Contestants must play instruments acoustically into microphone.  Each song will be introduced by the stage spokesperson for each competing band.  At least two of the songs must be vocals.

Pause for the Train Clause:  The Band may stop one time for a train to pass.  When the train passes, they must restart with the same song.

In an effort to judge the contest objectively and equally, the following criteria will be considered by the judges and assign point values in each area.  The band with the highest point total from all judges shall be the winner of the contest.

The contest judging will focus on the youth entrants and not the adult accompanists.

30 points ARRANGEMENT – Competitors version of the tune selected. Difficulty and originality will be considered.
30 points EXECUTION – Singing, picking, timing and dynamics will be considered.
30 points SHOWMANSHIP – Stage presence and entertainment values will be considered.
10 points OVERALL IMPRESSION – Judges’ decisions are final.

After the last band’s performance, the judges’ scores will be tallied and the winning band will be selected.  Final scores will not be divulged.

Contestants grant permission for OIBF to use photos of their performance in festival marketing and advertising.

 (photos by Jill Heck)

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Here are some of the talented winners from previous years! Are you a young person who plays an acoustic instrument? Form a band with your friends and join the fun in our contests!

In 2013 Tommi Littlejohn won the band competition as a solo act. A band can be one, two, ten or any number of players.
2013 winner Tommi Littlejohn.
Heartbreak Ridge youth band won in 2011.
Heartbreak Ridge band won in 2011.
2014 Youth Band Winner, The Williamson Family Band.
2014 Youth Band Winner, The Williamson Family Band
Russell Family receiving 2010 trophy
The Russell Family – 2010 Band Winners