The Handmade Music School offers unique learning experiences in music, history, and dance with master teachers. Events offer high quality instruction and performances from local and global master artists and are focused on preserving, sharing, and celebrating the musical traditions of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Events are held online, at The Floyd Country Store, and at local venues in Floyd, Virginia. Register today for a workshop, class, lecture, performance, or a multi-day camp!

The Handmade Music School is currently offering workshops through our Handmade at Home Virtual Workshop Series. Workshops are offered weekly with some of the best musicians, dancers, historians, songwriters and more. Stream live on CrowdCast platform or tune in any time after the event to watch the replay! Follow us on Crowdcast​ at

Please read our Workshop Refund and Cancellation Policies prior to check out.

If you need assistance in paying for a workshop or event, check out our Share the Music Scholarships.

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The Handmade Music School Presents

2021 Southwest Virginia Traditional Music Contest

Contest Categories

  • Youth (under 16, all instruments)
  • Dance
  • Instrumental (all instruments)
  • Folk Song


Adult Prizes (Dance, Instrumental, Folk Song)

  • 1st Place: $200 plus a County Legends of Old Time Music Box Set ($40 value) and a HMS Gift Bundle
  • 2nd Place: $100 plus a $25 County Sales Gift Certificate and a HMS Gift Bundle
  • 3rd Place: $50 plus a County Sales Hat ($20 value) and a HMS Gift Bundle

Youth Prizes

  • 1st Place: Full Scholarship to the 2022 Old Time Music Get Together plus a County Legends of Old Time Music Box Set and a HMS Gift Bundle
  • 2nd Place: 1-hour private lesson at the Handmade Music School plus a $25 County Sales Gift Certificate and a HMS Gift Bundle
  • 3rd Place: 30-minute private lesson at the Handmade Music School plus a County Sales hat ($20 value) and a HMS Gift Bundle

Contest Guidelines

  • Tunes and songs must be traditional, public domain, and sourced from SWVA (common repertoire or learned directly from a SWVA musician or recording of a SWVA musician – points for appropriate regional stylistic elements)
  • Contestants may submit 1 entry per category
  • Video must be made specifically for this competition
  • Contestants must say their name, mention the name of our contest, name of tune/song, and identify the source including the connection to SWVA (e.g. “My name is Tommy Jarrell and I’ll be playing Forked Deer for the 2021 Southwest Virginia Traditional Music Contest. I learned this tune from a recording of Peg Hatcher who was from Ferrum…” OR “I heard Alice Gerrard play this version at Galax the other year…” ETC)
  • Contestants in all categories may have one accompanist that must play a different instrument than contestant
  • No harmony singing allowed in Folk Song category (accompaniment may be instrumental only)
  • Videos should be no more than 3 minutes long
  • Pre-recorded backing tracks are acceptable in this competition. Judges will only be considering the performance of the contestant in any given category.
  • Points will be awarded for authenticity/appropriateness of music and style, musicianship, and energy/stage presence
  • Judges’ decisions are final

Southwest Virginia Music Sources

Sources don’t necessarily have to have been born in Virginia but their music must have a strong connection to the region of Southwest Virginia. Sources may include living musicians. Some examples of appropriate SWVA sources include:

Matokie Slaughter, Lewis “Big Sweet” Hairston, Texas Gladden, Wade Ward, Peg Hatcher, the Floyd County Ramblers, Albert Hash, Homer Walker, Glen Smith, the Carter Family, Hobart Smith, Grayson and Whitter, Marvin and Turner Foddrell, Posey Rorer, Henry Reed, the Kimble Family, Blind Alfred Reed, Uncle Norm Edmonds, E.C. and Orna Ball, Emmet Lundy, the Korn Kutters, Leonard Bowles, the Shelor Family, Rafe Brady, the Stanley Brothers, Sidna and Fulton Myers, the Stoneman Family, the Dry Hill Draggers, the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, and MANY MORE!

Contact with contest questions.

Contest Registration and Awards

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