fiddle contest
The John Arcand Fiddle Contest is one of the largest in Western Canada and is open to all ages and skill-levels.

Develop technical, competition and performance skills as well as a chance to win cash prizes and trophies. The Fiddle Contest is open to all ages and skill levels and is categorized accordingly. It is FREE to enter. Just sign up when you arrive onsite.


Many cash prizes and trophies for contestants.

John Arcand Category: honours our founder and name sake and also speaks to our mission of promoting and preserving the Métis tradition. The John Arcand Category will run Friday afternoon and will be a once through with no finals. Each contestant must play at waltz and a tune of their choice composed by John. (There are over 390 of them – so pick your favourites and practice up!)

Regular Fiddle Contest: preliminaries run Saturday morning and finals run Saturday afternoon. It offers these age categories: Novice 1 & 2* (12 and under); Junior 1 & 2* (13 to 18); Senior (60 and over); Open 1 & 2* and Championship** classes.

*Category 2:  The John Arcand Fiddle Fest introduced 2 Categories as a way to level the playing field so people who have just started playing are not competing against more skilled players, making it impossible for to place. Following the preliminary rounds, judges place competitors into categories to ensure all are competing at the same playing level.

** Championship Category: competitors do not register to enter Championship. They first enter the Open category and the judges advance the top five players into championship for finals.

Some contest preliminaries start on Friday however the bulk of them run Saturday morning and the finals run Saturday afternoon.

Prize board

Championship Open 1 Open 2 Senior
1st: $800
2nd: $600
3rd: $500
4th: $450
5th: $400
1st: $350
2nd: $300
3rd: $250
4th: $200
5th: $150
1st: $150
2nd: $125
3rd: $100
4th: $75
5th: $50
1st: $150
2nd: $125
3rd: $100
4th: $75
5th: $50
 Junior 1 Junior 2  Novice 1  Novice 2 
1st: $200
2nd: $175
3rd: $150
4th: $100
1st: $125
2nd: $100
3rd: $75
4th: $50
1st: $175
2nd: $150
3rd: $125
4th: $100
1st: $75
2nd: $65
3rd: $55
4th: $40
5th: $45
6th: $40
7th: $35
8th: $30
9th: $25
10th: $20
 John Arcand
(12 and under)
 John Arcand
(13 to 17)
 John Arcand
(18 to 54)
 John Arcand
(55 and over)
1st: $100
2nd: $75
3rd: $50
1st: $150
2nd: $100
3rd: $75
1st: $200
2nd: $150
3rd: $100
1st: $200
2nd: $150
3rd: $100

Sandy Cameron Memorial Trophy:

In April of 2004, the fiddle world lost a good friend, Sandy Cameron. Sandy had the vision to start the Emma Lake Fiddle Camp and was a dedicated supporter of all things old-time fiddling.

In memory of Sandy, a special trophy is granted to the winner of the Novice 1 category to encourage the winner to continue fiddling and to keep the dream alive.


Friday, 4pm – 6pm: Traditional Métis Showcase – followed by the John Arcand Category. The John Arcand category is run as a once through with winners announced on Friday before the concert begins. Each contest must play a waltz and a tune of their choice that has been composed by John Arcand.

9 am Fiddle Preliminaries: will run in this order: Senior, Novice, Junior, Open
** Judges advance “open contestants” into Championship Class for the Finals
** Judges also place contestants into Novice 1 and 2, Junior 1 and 2 and Open 1 and 2 Categories

Fiddle Contest Finals – will run after the afternoon concert series (approx. start time 2:30 pm)
Finals will run in this order: Senior, Novice 1 and 2, Junior 1 and 2, Open 1 and 2, Championship Class.

How to enter

Enter on-site at the registration table next to the main stage.

Fiddle Fest contest rules

  1. All contestants must register before their category begins. Contests are FREE to enter.
  2. All open contestants (after the preliminaries) will be placed by the judges into Championship, Open 1 and Open 2 categories. This is the same for Novice 1 and 2 as well as Junior 1 and 2.
  3. Contestants may move up in the category of age but cannot go down
  4. Contestants may only enter one class plus the John Arcand class.
  5. Order of play is posted by the stage entrance. Contestants must be ready when called and all fiddles must be tuned.
  6. Players may have their own accompaniment but not more than two additional players, who chord only. Piano accompaniment is provided onsite.
  7. No mutes or pick ups allowed.
  8. In all categories (except Novice) contestants must play three tunes in the old time style:  a waltz, a jig and a reel or hornpipe in that order.
  9. Novice class must play a waltz in the old time style and a tune of their choice in any style. THE NOVICE CLASS IS RUN AS A ONCE THROUGH…they do not play in the finals.
  10. Time limit of no more than 4 minutes
  11. In case of accidents (broken string etc.) contestants may replay
  12. If a contestant makes it through the preliminary round, they must play different tunes for the finals.
  13. Judges advance contestants in all classes to the finals.
  14. There will be a play off in case of a tie. The contest judges will decide the format as per the class in the contest.
  15. Judges decisions are final.

John Arcand Class (once through)

  1. Each contestant must play two John Arcand compositions.
  2. You must provide the names of the tunes at registration.
  3. One must be a waltz – the other a tune of your choice.
  4. Judges will combine the total points for both tunes.

Saskatchewan Championships

The John Arcand Fiddle Fest is now the home of the Saskatchewan championships. These will be run during the regular fiddle contest. The judges will have info on which contestants are from Saskatchewan and award the points accordingly. No separate preliminaries or finals will be played out. Winners will be announced at the same time as all other categories are.