FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR MUSICIANS & BANDS
Bands should be well-informed about the many possibilities for them that exist through being part of the EWOB Festival. We welcome any questions and will add information to this page as time permits.
Find more detailed information about the European Bluegrass Band Competition and Awards here.
Are any of the bands paid to perform at the EWOB Festival?
No. All bands - both European groups and our special guests from the USA, Canada, and elsewhere - play a free showcase at the EWOB Festival. Unlike similar professional trade organizations with music conventions, at EWOB the bands do not pay a fee to showcase. No one involved with the EWOB Festival takes money for their work - organizers, volunteers, and musicians all work together to make this very special event a "labor of love" for bluegrass music.
Do all bands receive some travel money?
Only the European bands showcasing at EWOB receive some travel expenses. Currently the rate is 10 Euro cents per km, based on the home adress of the band leader, as calculated by www.routenet.nl. The number of cars are not taken in account. It is just the distance that decides the amount. We do everything possible to help bands to perform at the EWOB Festival, and be able to compete for the European Bluegrass Band Awards. The travel allowance helps to level the playing field for those bands that must travel the longest distances.
We are very grateful to our non-European special guest artists, usually from the USA and Canada, who come over for European tours in May, and donate their time and talents to play at the European World of Bluegrass Festival!
How are bands selected to perform at the European World of Bluegrass Festival?
Please read the new instructions thoroughly for band applications. The Program Committee listens carefully to all your demos, and selects bands for the EWOB Festival according to these SELECTION CRITERIA:
- Musical excellence is always the first priority in band selection.
- We like to see as many countries as possible represented on the EWOB Festival stage.
- We try to include some promising new groups each year that have not performed at EWOB before.
- Bands should play acoustic instruments. Electric bass is fine. We are not able to accommodate drum sets, however.
- We love both traditional and progressive bluegrass! We do not set limits to exclude any style, but your music should be bluegrass-related in some way. This could mean mixing in other instruments besides the traditional guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and bass. Perhaps you play other sorts of music with bluegrass instruments. We are open to new sounds and possibilities that our very savvy EWOB Festival audience might enjoy.
- Original material and originality of style are encouraged. Incorporating musical influences from your own country, or some songs in your own language, can add interest and color and a very European flair to your sound. None of these things are required, however. Play your own music your own way!
- A handful of touring American bands perform at EWOB, generally 4 to 6 at most. The same musical criteria apply to these visiting bands. The EWOB Festival showcases European and American bands together. This not only creates a fuller experience of bluegrass music, but also makes for exciting contrasts - and some thrilling musical exchange both in jam sessions and instrument workshops! Our American guest artists also help to bring more people to the EWOB Festival.
- If your band was not selected last year, please apply again. The Program Committee tries to give extra consideration in this event. However, if your band has applied several times without being selected, it might be a good idea to send a new, improved demo when you apply again.
- Rest assured that no "political" considerations are allowed to influence the selection process. It doesn't matter "who you know" (or whom you don't know), where you come from, or whether you can afford to join EBMA. Our selection process has not always been perfect, but we do our best to listen to your suggestions and to make sure that it is fair to everyone. We want to make EWOB the best possible experience for both bands and audience.
Who selects the bands that perform at the EWOB Festival?
Bands are selected by the Program Committee, a group of 4 people who spend weeks listening to the demos sent with band applications. Program Committee members remain anonymous each year so that no one can try to influence their decisions. Our goal is always to make the EWOB Festival and the European Bluegrass Band Awards Competition as fair as possible for every bluegrass band that wishes to apply.
In the past few years, more than 100 bands have applied for the 42 available showcase spots on each of the EWOB Festivals. It is a tough job to choose from so many excellent groups. We are sorry that we cannot discuss individual decisions with the bands. If your band is not selected this year, we hope that you will try again the following year. If you have concerns or complaints about the selection process, please email your Musician Liaison.
Have other selection methods been considered for selecting bands to showcase at EWOB and compete for the European Bluegrass Band Awards?
We have considered every method we could think of, both before and since the EWOB Festivals began in 1998. No system is 100% perfect, but we try to make our selection method and criteria as fair to every bluegrass band in Europe as possible.
Has the concept of holding regional championships and having only these bands compete in the European Bluegrass Band Awards competition been considered?
Yes, indeed. But no practical approach was found that could possibly be fair.
First, we would have no way of knowing if all regional contests would be conducted as fairly as ours are at the European World of Bluegrass Festival. We could only hope and trust that this is the case - not a very reliable method.
Second, there is too great a disparity in the number of bluegrass bands in different parts of Europe. We hope to awaken interest in bluegrass music in areas where there has been little or none, giving birth to as many new bluegrass bands as possible. Allowing only regional champions would automatically eliminate any band from a country with little or no previous bluegrass activity.
- We hear that there are over 300 bluegrass bands in the Czech Republic. A German competition might involve 20-30 bands; a Benelux one probably even fewer.
- Clearly, a regional championship system of selection would already be unfair to bands from the Czech Republic. In such a bluegrass-rich country, even dividing their own championships into regional ones first still would not solve this problem.
- In a country like Hungary or Poland with hardly any bluegrass bands, no competition could be held - which means we would never even have seen Acousticure, voted #1 European Bluegrass Band 2008 by the musicians who played at the Festival!
If a European competition were held on this basis, with only regional champions competing, too many bands would lose any chance to perform at the EWOB Festival. Some regions might send the same favorites year after year, excluding all their other bands. We want our festival to be as inclusive as possible. We want new talent to have as much chance as old favorites. It should not matter which country a band comes from, or even if they are very new in their own land.
Why can't great bands that are unable to come to the Netherlands to perform at EWOB be included in the European Bluegrass Band Awards competition?
This would be unfair to all the bands.
- There are probably wonderful bluegrass bands in Europe that no one has seen or heard outside their own countries. Who would vote for them?
- How could the voting musicians compare the performances of bands at the festival with bands that are absent?
- The best-known great bands would do best to stay away and let their reputations win votes.
- Newer bands working hard to improve their music in time for the next EWOB Festival would lose their incentive and inspiration. It wouldn't matter how good they became if people voted for bands that don't appear on the EWOB stage at all.
- All things considered, it would be easier for bands to just stay at home and hope for votes.
A band that wants to win one of the European Bluegrass Band Awards should be ambitious and confident enough to come to EWOB to perform. As it says on our Sign-Up page, for band applications: "You gotta be in it to win it!"
How can our band get a track on the next EWOB CD?
Showcase at the EWOB Festival and play your very best! EWOB CD tracks are selected according to musical standards only. We look for great playing, good singing, originality, good mix, etc. We pay no attention to the bands' countries of origin or "who's who." Only the musical and recording quality are considered, what tracks really add something to the album, and what tracks and tempos work best together.
PLEASE NOTE: It is understood that when your band applies for a showcase at the EWOB Festival, you agree to allow Strictly Country Records to choose tracks from your performances for EWOB CDs and musical productions to help promote the EWOB Festival and your music.
Read European Bluegrass Band Awards FAQ
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