Date(s) - 09/26/2020
10:30 am - 4:00 pm

Columbia State Historic Park


The 38th annual Columbia Fiddle and Bango Contest

The 38th annual Columbia Fiddle and Bango (yes, Bango) Contest will be held Saturday, September 28th at the Gazebo on Main St. in Columbia. Up to 50 contestants will be performing in 7 different categories. The event is sponsored by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and will also feature a raffle. Attendance to the contest is free. Rock in the Road, an organization dedicated to music in our local schools, is a co-sponsor of the event.

The Fiddle and Bango Contest (so named because in its first year a then unfortunate and now serendipitous printing error misspelled banjo) is unique in that it is an open contest, pitting amateurs and professionals , young and old, against each other in a juried competition. Youthful musicians are especially encouraged to enter and have placed quite well in past contests.

The 7 categories are fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, vocal, miscellaneous and original composition. The rules are simple: entrants are limited to 5 minutes per performance; individuals may enter in multiple categories; no electric instruments or devices are allowed – the sponsors provide a professional sound system; contestants may have no more than 3 accompanists. Entries ($15) are accepted from 9 to 10:30 AM when the show starts.

Contestants win $50 for 1st place in their category, $25 for 2nd and $15 (their entry fee) for 3rd place. First place winners in all but the original song category then compete for the gold nugget grand prize. A separate Columbia Songster award for the composition category is meant to encourage original song-writing. The contest starts at 10:30 and can run as late as 5PM. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to get the best possible seating, bring lawn chairs, sunscreen, and be prepared to hear both polished musicians and folks making their public debuts.

Past winners have gone on to successful music careers, including headlining festivals and making recordings, but the day almost always includes at least a few youngsters who, with talent and grit, will enthrall the audience and complicate the judges’ work. A couple of generations of mostly local musical talent have had their first exposure to a large crowd at the Fiddle & Bango Contest and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce is counting on attendees to welcome the newest entrants with enthusiasm and appreciation.