The 2010 Gathering in the Gap music festival, which will be held at the Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap on May 29, offers an opportunity for area musicians to test their skills in a variety of musical competitions. Performers can compete in old-time and bluegrass divisions and on multiple instruments.
Old-time categories include banjo, fiddle, and string band. In the banjo and fiddle competitions, two age groups will compete: 17 and under and 18 and over. Bluegrass categories include banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and band. This year’s competition also includes a new instrument category, the lap dulcimer. As with the old-time sections, performers in the individual instrument competitions will be judged according to their age group.
The judges will use the following criteria in scoring the contestants: arrangement, rhythm and timing, musicianship, technique, and stage presence. When scoring musicianship, the judges will be looking for tasteful, dynamic, and entertaining performances. Scores for technique will be based on the technical competence of a contestant’s fingering, bowing, or picking.
A cash prize will be presented to the first place winner in each category. Trophies will be given to second and third place winners. The Old-Time and Bluegrass Band winners will perform for 20 minutes each on the Gathering in the Gap’s Main Stage starting at 4:00 PM.
Each contestant must fill out a registration form and must pay admission to the festival. There is no additional cost for the competitions. All competitors will play two songs: one fast and one slow. All competing bands must consist of three or more members. For a complete set of competition rules, a schedule of events, or a downloadable registration form, please visit the festival website and click on “Competitions.” For more information about any of the festival events, please call the museum at 276-523-1322 or visit the website mentioned above.