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© 2019 by Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival

Win Great Prizes and the Artist Opportunity of a Lifetime!

Notice (July 5, 2019 - 8:00 PM CST): Competition submissions have reached its capacity. You can submit for consideration to be added to the stand-by list. If you choose to submit for the stand-by list and pay your submission fee, you will automatically receive a free 3-day festival ticket ($50 USD value) to attend the festival via email; You will also receive a $200 discount promo code to attend the instructional guitar camp (if you so choose). If registering for the instructional guitar camp, stand-by participants are guranteed a spot to play at the festival 'Open Mic' event. Stand-by participants who wish to be considered to compete must be present at the Live Competition on September 14, 2019 at 8:30 AM at Keller Hall to be eligible to replace "no show" competitors. You will be placed on the stand-by list according to the order we receive your application. 

Guitar Competition Rules

The Guitar Competition is open to anyone except those who are staff members or founding artists of Fretmonkey, are labeled artists of CandyRat Records, who are sponsors of the festival, or are performing as a billed or paid entertainer or workshop leader at the Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival.

The initial preliminary round judging will take place via YouTube video submission.

The live competition will take place Saturday, September 14, 2019 in front of a public audience at the Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival and will be judged by a different panel of experts and/or renowned artists who do not have access to scores from the preliminary round.  Judges will be behind a screen and unable to see the players.

First, second, and third places prizes are announced on the festival website. Supplementary non-cash prizes may be announced at a later date. 



June 30, 2019 – Deadline for application materials and video (We have the right to extend this deadline to allow for adequate participation.)

July  15, 2019 – Early notification of semi-finalists via email. Early applicants may receive a decision before this date. 

September 14, 2019 – Live performance component of the guitar competition.


Contestants are responsible for their own travel, hotel accommodations, and expenses for the competition taking place at the Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival at Camp Mitchell (Keller Hall) in Morrilton, Arkansas. Transportation options to and from the airport are available and are listed on the festival's registration website (under camp registraton).

Contestants must be present at the venue (Keller Hall at Camp Mitchell) one-half hour (at 8:30 AM) before the stated time of the competition (9:00 AM). Contestants will draw numbers to determine the order of performances.


Contestants must bring their own guitar(s) for their performances and remain solely responsible for their instruments. Contestants may bring and use any 6-, 7-, or 12-string acoustic guitar. The only personal pieces of gear a competitor may use is their guitar, cable, pick, slide, and strap. Harp Guitars are permissible. Looping is not allowed.


  • For acoustic guitars, amplification will be done through the use of a condensor microphone. 

  • Guitars must be tuned before going on stage, though retuning is allowed between selections.



  • Visit, complete the application form and pay the registration fee online.

  • Submit your video by entering the URL within the application form.



  • The submission registration fee is $50. The application fee is non-refundable, without exception.

  • Please note that your registration will only be considered complete once payment has been made and accepted, and the online application form has been completed. After your registration is complete, you will receive an email confirmation.

  • Please note that if you are selected to participate in the live Guitar Competition, you are required to purchase a festival ticket (it's $50; found on EventBrite or on the home page of this website) or be registered for the camp. You do not have to attend the entire festival to participate in the competition nor do you have to register for the instructional guitar camp. You are only required to have a $50 festival ticket and be present on Saturday September 14, 2019 (the day of the competition). 

  • If you are an international competitor and your form of payment is not accepted on the registration website, please contact us by email at to arrange an alternate form of payment. 



  • Submit one video of contestant’s choice (can be live or static). The song selection may be an original work or a cover.  

  • The length of the video must not exceed five (5) minutes. Any submission over five (5) minutes will not be considered. Only one submission is allowed.  



  • While we advise all contestants to create the best quality entry possible, both regarding the audio and the video, it need not be at a professional-level production value. 

  • Do not submit a video with product placements or other commercial intent. No foul language or offensive gestures.

  • When submitting your video url (example would be YouTube), you must select “Public”" or “Unlisted” in the privacy settings when uploading the video. If the candidate selects “Private,” their submission will be invalid. The candidate must provide the link to their video submission on the application form. For more information on posting videos, we recommend exploring the “Help” section found on the homepage or your video platform of choice.

  • The contestant’s video must have the artists’ name in the title.



  • The deadline for applications is June 30, 2019, at 11:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time).



  • All contestants will be judged in the preliminary round by a panel of independent and credible judges. Video submissions will be judged by July 15, 2019. Semi-finalists will be notified and invited to participate in the live competition taking place on September 14, 2019 at Camp Mitchell in Morrilton, Arkansas.



  • Notification to all semi-finalists will consist of an email to the address listed on the application form, as well as posted online no later than July 15, 2019. Early submissions may receive earlier decisions (before July 15th). By entering this competition, you agree that the notification methods stated herein are sufficient to give you notice in the event that you are chosen to advance. If any semi-finalist fails to respond by agreeing via email to participate in the next level of the competition within seven (7) days of notification, then that candidate forfeits their right to participate further in this competition. Any runners-up will be notified via email within two (2) business days of the day that any candidate fails to respond or declines the invitation to compete in the next level of competition. If a semi-finalist declines the invitation to compete, then the candidate who received the next-highest final score in the video submission will be invited to compete.



Selected contestants MUST HAVE REGISTERED ONLINE for guitar competition and be notified that they competing at the live guitar competition. Contestants must also purchase a Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival Ticket or be registered for the instructional guitar camp. If selected to participate in the live round, you must present your festival ticket or camp registration at the time of drawing performance numbers.  All selected competition competitors will have the option to purchase the instructional guitar camp registration at a discounted rate. The link to the discounted registration will be included in email acceptance notification. 


A MEDLEY OF TUNES IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. Recommended maximum playing time is approximately five (5) to six (6) minutes. This is a soft rule that serves as guidance for an efficient competition. Play stay within this timeframe (as best you can) without compromising the integrity of your arrangement. The entire 2-song set should not exceed 10 minutes. In an effort to judge the contest objectively and equally, the following criteria will be considered by the judges and assigned point value in each area.

40 points 1. ARRANGEMENT – Contestant’s version of the tune selected.  Difficulty and originality will be considered. 

40 points 2. EXECUTION, TUNING – Fingering, picking and dynamics will be considered.

10 points 3. SHOW VALUE – Would the music resonate with an audience (appeal)? Contribute to the genre of fingerstyle guitar?

10 points 4. OVERALL IMPRESSION - Is it innovative? Progressive? Modern? Well executed? (In other words...Does it stand out in some way?)


When arriving on stage, the contestant is prohibited from talking into the mic or to the audience. Contestants will be prepared to play four instrumental numbers. Two numbers will be played in the first round of competition and the other two in the final round should the contestant be selected as a finalist (up to 5 finalists will be chosen). CONTESTANT MAY PLAY ANY STYLE OF MUSIC. Contestants may use thumb and finger picks. NO FLAT PICK. Contestants may bring and use any 6-, 7-, or 12-string acoustic guitar with steel or nylon strings are allowed. The only personal pieces of gear a candidate may use is their guitar, cable, slide, and strap. Harp Guitars are permissible. Pedal effects and looping are not allowed. Special tunings will be allowed. However, the contestant will NOT be allowed to take two instruments on stage. Recommended maximum playing time is approximately five (5) minutes (total), although competitors will not be disqualified or penalized for going slightly over.   Any style of capos may be used.  Contestants must be present at the contest stage at 8:30 AM to draw for order of appearance and receive final instructions. Winners will be announced immediately and will receive their awards after the contest.



Any candidate who fails to abide by the Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Competition Rules & Regulations may be disqualified.

Any application form found to contain false or inaccurate information may result in the candidate's disqualification.

The Organizer reserves the exclusive right to record, photograph, or disseminate in any manner whatsoever. 

Participation in the Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Competition implies the full and clear adherence to these rules, the waiver of all rights and recourse in respect of the submission procedures, their results and the awarding of prizes, and in respect of any physical or material damage sustained by the candidate either during the performances or when traveling to said performances.