Branson Fiddle Festival

28th Annual Fiddle Festival Presented by Grand Country

August 26 – 28, 2016

fiddleDon’t miss the 28th annual Branson Fiddle Festival August 26 – 28, 2016 presented by Grand Country! Located in the heart of Ozarks, Grand Country Resort is the perfect home for this amazing three-day fiddling frenzy. Once you pull in the parking lot, you’ll never have to leave. Featuring hotel, theatre, restaurants, family attractions, and more, get ready for a GRAND weekend of fiddling and fun!

Stay & Play at Grand Country!

Grand Country is the grandest family destination in Branson. Featuring live shows daily, 36-hole indoor mini-golf, a family amusement center with arcade games, bumper cars, black light mini-golf and more.

For lodging, guests can stay at Grand Country Inn which features an interactive indoor and outdoor water park that is free for guests, as well as indoor and outdoor pools.

Guests can also enjoy the Grand Country Buffet, pizza, custard, homemade fudge, the world’s largest banjo and fiddle, and shopping for all ages.

Special $69.95 (plus tax) Hotel Rate ~ Use Promo Code: Fiddle16

Tickets for Theatre

  • Adult (12 and up): $10 (plus tax)
  • Child (4 – 11): $3 (plus tax)
  • (3 and under): Free

Book Reservations Today!

Hotel: 417-335-3535
Show Tickets: 417-335-2484


Friday, August 26, 2016

5pm – Anything Goes Fiddle Contest

The weekend starts with an “open-mic” style of competition. Cross-tuning, Trick and Fancy Fiddling allowed! The applause meter determines the winner!

  • 1st Place: $300
  • 2nd Place: $150
  • 3rd Place: $100
  • 4th Place: $50

Saturday, August 27, 2016

8:30am – Registration

Registration begins at 8:30am Saturday at the Grand Country Music Hall Box Office. There is no entry fee for contestants. All contestants must be available 30 MINUTES prior to the start of their Division, and have tune sheets turned in at registration time. Six Divisions will be competing.

9am: Pee-Wee Division (10 and under)

  • 1st Place: $100
  • 2nd Place: $75
  • 3rd Place: $50
  • 4th Place: $25
  • 5th Place: $25
  • 6th Place: $15

10:30am: Junior Division (11 – 16)

6 Places advance to Finals on Sunday

12pm: Lunch Break

1pm: Pee-Wee & Junior Winners Announced

1:15pm: Accompanist

  • 1st Place: $300
  • 2nd Place: $200
  • 3rd Place: $100
  • 4th Place: $75
  • 5th Place: $50

1:30pm: Senior Division (60 and over)

  • 1st Place: $300
  • 2nd Place: $200
  • 3rd Place: $100

2pm: Adult Division (17 – 59)

6 Places advance to Finals on Sunday

3pm: Open Division

10 Places advance to Finals on Sunday

Schedule subject to change depending on number of contestants. Times are preliminary and may change as much as 15 minutes.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

1pm: Junior Division Finals

  • 1st Place: $400
  • 2nd Place: $300
  • 3rd Place: $200
  • 4th Place: $100
  • 5th Place: $75
  • 6th Place: $50

2pm: Adult Division Finals

  • 1st Place: $500
  • 2nd Place: $400
  • 3rd Place: $250
  • 4th Place: $200
  • 5th Place: $100
  • 6th Place: $50

2:45pm: Open Division Finals

  • 1st Place: Advances to Round Robin Finals
  • 2nd Place: Advances to Round Robin Finals
  • 3rd Place: Advances to Round Robin Finals
  • 4th Place: $300
  • 5th Place: $200
  • 6th Place: $100
  • 7th Place: $100
  • 8th Place: $100
  • 9th Place: $50
  • 10th Place: $50

4pm: Round Robin Finals

  • 1st Place (Mid-America Fiddle Champion): $1,000 & Champion Buckle
  • 2nd Place: $800
  • 3rd Place: $600


Bart Trotter

Bart TrotterBart was born in Norman. Oklahoma and moved to Texas in 1970. Bart started playing the fiddle at the age of 11. He quickly started traveling, playing and winning fiddle contests all over the United States. Some of his accomplishments include:

  • 1986 – World Champion Fiddle Player (Crockett, Texas)
  • 1986 – SPBGMA National Champion Fiddler (Mt. View, Arkansas)
  • 5 Time – NOTFA National Champion Fiddler (Cortez, CO)
  • 2 Time – US Open Invitational Fiddle Champion (Mt. View, Arkansas)
  • 2 Time – 1st Runner-up Grand Masters Fiddle Contest (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • 5 Time – New Mexico State Champion Fiddle Player (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Bart has play, performed and/or recorded with:, The Texas Playboys, The Sons of the Pioneers, Merle Haggard, Freddy Powers, Johnny Gimble, The Flying J Wranglers, Eddy Akridge, Tish Hinajosa, Gary Cook, Roger Moon, Joel Melton, Rick McRae, Terry Hale, Cindy Cashdollar, Redd Volkaert, and Floyd Domino just to name a few.

The places and events Bart has had the privilege of playing include The White House, The Texas State Capital, National Final Rodeo in Las Vegas, and The Grand Old Opry. One of the most enjoyable times in his career was the 13 years he spent as a member of The Flying Wranglers performing at The Flying J Chuckwagon in Ruidoso, NM.

Bart and his wife, Denise currently make their home in Branson, Missouri. Over the years he has built a business as a graphic artist and web designer. He always says he had to do this to support his “music habit”.

When it comes to contest fiddling Bart gives credit to his two major influences, teachers and friends: Benny Thomasson and Terry Morris. Bart appreciates and plays all types of music. But make no mistake about it…. When asked who his musical hero is? The answer will always be Johnny Gimble!

Deanie Richardson

Deanie RichardsonMaking her debut appearance on the Grand Ole Opry at the tender age of 13, Deanie Richardson took the stage and never looked back. Raised just outside of Nashville in the small town of Kingston Springs, Deanie grew up in a musical family. With both of her grandfathers and her daddy playing music, it was just natural for Deanie to want to play along. At the age of nine, she picked up the fiddle and the rest is history. Once the bow touches the strings of her 1880 Collin-Mezin you understand why she is known as one of country and bluegrass music’s most revered fiddle players. She can play anything from upbeat, fast-paced bluegrass tunes to lonesome, tear-jerking country melodies. This is not an easy feat. As Vince Gill was quoted saying about Deanie, “Sometimes great country fiddlers aren’t great bluegrass fiddlers and vice-versa, but she encompasses those styles. She knows the difference and plays the difference.” No doubt that part of that can be attributed to the fact that Deanie studied for three years at the Blair School of Music with Craig Duncan.

Deanie has several titles under her belt, entering and winning numerous fiddle contests before she started playing bluegrass or bluegrass festivals. She has been nominated for the Academy of Country Music Awards Top Fiddle Player of the Year for 2010 putting her up against Stuart Duncan, a fellow fiddler she admires greatly. She includes Stuart along with Mark O’ Connor, Howdy Forrester, Kenny Baker and Tommy Jackson in the list of musicians that have influenced her playing over the years. Thriving on diversity, she has shared the stage and/or recording studio with such artists as Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Bob Seger, Dale Ann Bradley, Emmy Lou Harris, Ry Cooder, David Olney, Hank Williams Jr, Del McCoury Band, Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt and Holly Dunn to name a few. Deanie has toured with the Chieftains, Patty Loveless, Vince Gill, Bob Seger, and will be starting 2016 with the new band, Sister Sadie. With appearances on Letterman, Leno, Conan and the Today Show at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall as well as touring all over including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland. Deanie has had the opportunity to play the wide range of styles that she does so well. She doesn’t limit herself to just the fiddle, Deanie also plays mandolin and acoustic guitar.

She has been a mentor to many young musicians, something that Deanie feels very fortunate to be a part of. Working with kids has given her the opportunity to nurture the next generation of bluegrass pickers, something she believes in with all of her heart. She has shared her liveliness and love for music with many students over the years.

Deanie is a presence on stage. She radiates a type of contagious energy; literally bursting at the seams of her small frame so that you feel you are a part of the magic when she takes one of her solos. She says that her beloved fiddle vibrates her entire body as she plays; maybe that’s what you feel as you listen to her music, or maybe it comes from within. They say you get back what you give out. If that’s true then Deanie’s cup is overflowing. Her motto…. “Love Hard, Work Hard, Play Hard…. in that order.

Tom Weisgerber

Tom WeisgerberTom Weisgerber fell in love with fiddle music at the age of ten in 1981, after watching his father accompany the son of family friends at a fiddle contest. The following year, he started playing in local contests around Minnesota. In the summer of 1984, Tom spent a week in Montana studying with Dick and Lisa Barrett, who introduced him to Texas Style fiddling, and he has been avidly playing ever since.

Some of Tom’s credits include: six-time MN State Fiddlers Association Champion; six-time MN State Champion; 1989 and 1991 Champion at the World Series of Fiddling in Langley, OK; Gone to Texas Champion in Hallettsville, TX in 2002, 2005, and 2013; and the Mid-America Champion in Branson in 2013 and 2014.

Tom has also served as a judge at the National Old-Time Fiddle Contest in Weiser, ID, in 1991, 1996, and 2005, as well as Langley in 1990 and 1992. It is his first time judging here in Branson.

Tom is also an accomplished rhythm guitar player, and loves to attend contests to see old friends, make new ones, and play music for as long the jam will go on.


Fiddle Contest Celebrity Emcee: Wayne Massengale

wayneWayne Massengale is a bolt of lightning waiting to strike? This Harrison, Arkansas native has been playing shows in Branson since 1981, spending ten years with the award-winning Country Tonite Show and also performed with Clay Cooper’s Country Express Show.

In addition, he worked with Roy Clark five years playing the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville Now and Hee Haw. He also performed with Tanya Tucker.

Wayne constantly astounds audiences with his outstanding ability on the fiddle combined with his distinct showmanship. Grand Country’s fiddler is also a seven-time recipient of Branson’s “Fiddle Player of the Year award”. He’s also an “Arkansas State Fiddle Champion”, and the recipient of the Society For The Preservation of Bluegrass Music Association (SPBGMA) “Most Promising Fiddler” award.

Wayne and his wonderful wife Melody have two sons, Garrett and Dillion.


1. Each contestant may enter only one division. They will be required to play three tunes: BREAKDOWN, WALTZ, and FIDDLER’S CHOICE. The tunes may be played in any order. If a playoff is necessary to break a tie, no tune may be repeated in the subsequent rounds.

2. Each contestant will be allowed nine minutes to complete all tunes. A red flag will signal the end of nine minutes, and the fiddler must cease playing. If the performance time, excluding instrument failure or another emergency, exceeds nine minutes the judges may deduct points.

3. All tunes will be played in standard tuning. No cross tuning. No trick fiddling. Tunes such as “Black Mountain Rag”, “Orange Blossom Special” and “Listen to the Mockingbird” will not be allowed.

4. No electronic amplification of instruments will be allowed other than through the provided sound system. However, if no acoustic piano is available, the contest administrator and judges reserve the right to approve the use of an electronic keyboard, which shall be adjusted as far as possible to emulate the sound of an acoustic piano.

5. Accompanists shall not double the melody line with the contestant.

6. Broken performances (false start, sound system problems, instrument failure, environmental difficulties, etc.) may be replayed only with the express permission of the judges.

7. A contestant’s right to view his score sheets depends on the consensus of the judges.

8. The judges and contest administrator reserve the right to require call-back (play-off) rounds. Call-back rounds are scored separately from previous rounds.

9. A contestant’s failure to appear within a reasonable time of being called to the stage may, at the discretion of the judges and contest administrator, result in disqualification.

10. Any prospective contestant attempting to enter the preliminary rounds after the advertising closing time of registration shall be admitted to the contest only with the expressed permission of the contest administrator and judges. No one will be admitted in the final rounds without having placed in the top five during the preliminary rounds.

11. Clowning, showboating or vocalizing may result in loss of points. The judge’s discretion is final in this situation.

12. No sheet music or written scores are allowed on stage, except in the Pee Wee Division. All tunes must be performed from memory in all other divisions.

13. No contestant shall be disqualified from competition for the reason that he or she earns all or a substantial part of his or her income from playing the fiddle.

14. No more than four strings on the fiddle will be allowed.

15. Any matter not expressly covered in the foregoing rules shall be ruled on by the judges. Their decision in such regard shall be final.

Please note: Contestants selected to play in the final rounds must play three tunes other than the tunes they played in the preliminary rounds. They may not play any of the same tunes. Contestants shall not switch divisions between the preliminary rounds and the final rounds.

Decisions of the judges will be final in all matters.