Competitor Information

The 2023 Indiana State Fingerstyle Guitar Competition allows 40 contestants, and 35 stand-by competitors in the event that one of the first 40 does not compete. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, as the 40 slots are filled in the order in which registrations are received. There will be on-site registration allowed until 1-hour prior to the start of the competition, at Brown County Playhouse.

Please direct all questions to or call 812-750-0257

Competitor Lodging:

Thanks to The Brown County Inn for being our Fest Headquarters. Should you choose to stay there, they are offering a special competitor room rate using the Promo Code:  0775

Contact Brown County Inn at 800-772-5249 or visit for reservations.

Special rates are:

  • $139 + tax for a room with two queen beds
  • $149 + tax for a king room.

General Rules for Indiana State Fingerstyle Guitar Competition – 2023

Contest Description
Indiana State Fingerstyle Guitar Competition will take place at The Brown County Playhouse, Nashville IN, on Saturday July 29, 2023. 11am Eastern Time.

Entry fee is $20.
Contests are open to anyone except the previous year’s winner of the Indiana State Finger Style Championship.

Only 40 contestants may compete per contest. This will be the first 40 answering when their names are called from the chronological registration lists, one-half hour before the contest begins.
An additional 35 registrations will be accepted and placed on a standby list in case of cancellations or no-shows. To have your name placed at the end of the standby list you may register by filling out the entry form and paying the registration fee. Walk-up standby contestants will be accepted up to 1-hour before the competition, at Brown County Playhouse.

Contest Rules:
Contestants may register for the contest by filling out the entry form online and paying the entry fee via PayPal, or mailing a printed entry form with a check for the entry fee.
All registered contestants must check in to confirm their registration at the Brown County Playhouse prior to the time registration closes. WE WILL ACCEPT NEW CONTEST REGISTRATIONS UNTIL ONE HOUR BEFORE THE SCHEDULED CONTEST TIME.

The order of appearance will be determined by drawing a number one-half hour before the contest begins.  If there are nine (9) or fewer registered, contestants will play three (3) tunes in the first round.  Judges will place winners without the additional tunes of a second round. Scorecards will NOT be given out.

  • Contestants must play instruments acoustically into microphone. An instrument’s electrical capability cannot be used.
  • Contestants are not allowed to speak on stage, to keep the competition anonymous to the judges.
  • Contestants are allowed to bring only one instrument on stage.
  • Special tunings will be allowed. However, the contestant will NOT be allowed to take two instruments on stage.
  • Only 6-string or 12-string acoustic guitars are acceptable.
  • All styles of music are acceptable in this competition.
  • Contestants may use thumb and finger picks.
  • Any style of capo may be used.
  • Electronic effects of any kind may NOT be used.
  • Maximum playing time of five (5) minutes.
  • Contestants will be prepared to play four instrumental songs. Two songs 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.
  • The judging room only hears the competing instrument. Contestants may have one rhythm instrument for accompaniment, but that accompaniment will not be heard by the judges. It is policy that billed or paid entertainers not accompany contestants.

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. Is it appropriate to the tune and arrangement? Is the tune selected in keeping with the flavor of the festival? Is the arrangement original, for the most part, to the contestant, or is it someone else’s known arrangement?
40 points  2. EXECUTION & ARTICULATION – Are the notes buzzing and muddy, or are they clear and distinct? Tone – Are the notes full or thin sounding? Timing – Is the tempo steady and constant? Dexterity – Are the notes played in difficult positions up and/or down the finger board or is the piece played for the most part in first and/or second position? Tuning – Is the instrument in tune with itself and relatively close to concert pitch of A=440?
10 points  3. EXPRESSION, DYNAMICS & SHOW VALUE – The music should be played with life and feeling. The performance is not to be based on audience response.
10 points  4. OVERALL IMPRESSION – Paragraphs 1 through 3 are considered at this point.

Winners will be announced immediately and will receive their awards after the contest.
The top 3 winners will be required to play in the Saturday night performance.


  • 1st place receives entry to the International Competition at the Walnut Valley Festival – provided by Walnut Valley Festival.
  • Top 3 winners receive a guitar – provided by Tom Roeger Guitars, SDC Guitars, and Sweetwater Music.
  • Top 5 winners will receive a trophy.