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Young Tradition Festival

The 2020 Young Tradition Festival has been cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns.  However, the annual contest will continue in an online format.

In late April and early May, Young Tradition Vermont brings together young people involved in traditional music and dance, and those who support and are interested in what they do, in an effort to share with the community young trad singers, players and dancers and what they bring to the world. At the Young Tradition Festival, young folks are a major focus, supported by teachers, mentors, friends and families. With opportunities to interact with others, young people use what inspires them, what they learn, and performances to be inspired by and to inspire others.

For more information contact Young Tradition Festival Manager Yasi Zeichner at yazbozz@gmail.com or Young Tradition Vermont Executive Director Mark Sustic at mark.sustic@gmail.com.

2020 Young Tradition Contest

We are accepting submissions for the 2020 Young Tradition Contest until April 15th! Refer to the guidelines below before submitting your video. If you have any questions, contact Yasi Zeichner (yazbozz@gmail.com) or Mark Sustic (mark.sustic@gmail.com)

Contest Details

For 2020, the Young Tradition Festival Contest will be an online format only.  The contest is designed to encourage young musicians and dancers to perform and support their involvement in traditional music and dance. In addition to cash prizes, the winners are provided performance opportunities in the region and linkages that would support continued involvement in traditional music and dance.

It’s a great way connect with other young people with similar interests, mentors and teachers, and has opened doors for many to other performance opportunities. We award the top three acts a cash prize ($1000, $500 and $250, respectively).  Send an email to Young Tradition Festival manager Yasi Zeichner at yazbozz@gmail.com, and to mark.sustic@gmail.com  with the following:

  • a video of your performance
  • the names and ages of all the performers
  • a brief biography of yourself or the group (3-4 sentences)

Videos must be at least one minute long and no more than 5 minutes in length.   You may send either a video in the email itself, or a link to a video posted online (at a performer website, or YouTube, for example). All contestants must be at or under the age of 25 on May 2nd, 2020.  The only exception is for groups: If the average age of group members is 25 or younger, half or more of the group is 25 or younger, and no one is over 30, the group qualifies for the contest. We post videos and biographies on the Young Tradition Vermont website for public viewing. Young Tradition Vermont board members and past winners of the contest vote for up to 10 finalists. On May 2nd prizes will be announced at the same time that the Young Tradition Touring Group violin raffle is announced.

 

2019 Contest Finalists

Winners of the 2019 Young Tradition VT Contest were Spintuition and Nora Rodes, who tied for first place; Beinn Mhór and The Two Tones tied for 3rd place. The other finalists, who were invited to perform at the festival were: The Burlingtones, Courtney and Cordell Drew, Owen Kennedy, The Kowal Family, and Ristika Gurung.

The entire contest finals, held on May 4th, 11am-3pm at Contois Auditorium in Burlington can be viewed at this link: http://lcatv.org/young-tradition-contest-finals-2019-05-04

2018 Contest Finalists

The 2018 contest finals, held during Kids Day at Waterfront Park in Burlington can be viewed at this link: http://lcatv.org/young-tradition-contest-2018-2018-05-05 . The video submission of Romy and Ben Munkres, the 2018 contest winners, can be viewed here Romy and Ben Munkres Contest Video 2018

 

 

Young Tradition Festival FAQ (doesn’t apply for 2020)

Eric George, Contest Winner

We hope this page helps answer some common questions, please contact us directly if you have a question not answered here: (mark.sustic@gmail.com).

Do you need to check in with anyone before the contest final arrives?

Why do some performers get paid?
How do you get from one place to another? 

What if you’re scheduled for something and you can’t make it?
When are you scheduled?
How long will your performance be?
How many people will be in the audience?
Can I help with publicity?
Will there be a program book?
Where does the money go from donations and sponsorships?
What is the Tom Sustic fund?
What time should you arrive?
What if you need accommodations?
How do you find the event locations?
Where should you park?
What should you include in the contest? Is there anything you shouldn’t do?
Do performers have to pay for things they aren’t performing in?
Who will introduce you? What will they say?
What should you be prepared to say?
What parents, siblings, friends, etc. can do while you are backstage or on stage?
What should you do when you are not backstage or on stage performing?
What should you wear?
Is there anything special you need to do or to be prepared for?
Will there be a sound system?
What if you want to try out the sound system?
Will you have the chance to practice before you perform?
If you have recordings or other things to sell, how will that work?
What happens if the weather is bad?
Will there be refreshments/food available?
Will someone be taking photos?
Will someone be video taping?
Will someone be audio recording?
Who are the people who are in charge and how do you reach them?
Will there be a 18th Young Tradition Festival in 2021?
How will contest prize winners be determined? When will the prize winners be announced?

Do you need to check in with anyone before the contest final arrives?
No, unless you have a question, your plans have changed, there’s a complication, etc. Otherwise just show up where you’re supposed to be 30 minutes or so before you’re scheduled.

Why do some performers get paid?
There are some performers, including those have won the contest or participated previously, who get invited (for pay) to play for some of the other weekend events. No one is paid to compete in the contest.

How do you get from one place to another?
Is there public transportation? Everything in Burlington is within walking distance from anywhere in downtown Burlington. Waterfront Park is several blocks from the downtown area.

What if you’re scheduled for something and you can’t make it?
If something happens that you can’t come, let Mark Sustic know as soon as possible via e-mail (mark.sustic@gmail.com). If its after Thursday, best to send an e-mail AND leave a message on his cell phone (802-233-5293).

When are you scheduled?
If you’re part of the Saturday program during the contest, you will receive information about when you are scheduled. If there are any changes we will do our best to let you know in advance. For the contest, please check in with us at least 15 minutes before the hour you are scheduled, and be ready to go on sometime in that hour.

How long will your performance be?
As a rule of thumb, those competing in the contest portion should plan on 15 minutes. It takes everyone doing their part to keep us on schedule. If you take longer than you should, someone who comes after you may have to have their segment shortened or eliminated. Help us make sure that doesn’t happen.

Note that there is very little time built in for set-up and take down, especially at the contest. Have a plan for getting set-up and finishing that includes carrying your instruments, chair as needed, etc. as quickly and efficiently as possible. We’ll have basic sound equipment available, enough to cover most every situation at the showcase contest…… but no direct lines, no monitors, no sound checks.

How many people will be in the audience?
For the contest, in past years when it was held at Waterfront Park during Burlington Kids Day, we would usually expect at least 50, and maybe as many 200 to 300 people at any one time. This year, the contest will be held indoors, at the Contois Auditorium at City Hall, so there may be fewer audience members! We expect at least 100 for the concerts on Saturday and Sunday.

Can I help with publicity?
Of course! Spread the word to friends, family, neighbors, your school, where you work, other places you play between now and then. Send an e-mail. Add it to you web page, Facebook or other social networking site. Announce it at other performances. Forward the information to folks on your mailing list.

If you haven’t done so already, we could still use a short biography (no more than a few sentences in a paragraph) and a j-peg photo (mark.sustic@gmail.com). We might be able to use it in publicity efforts. If you’ve played at the event before, and you don’t send any updated information, we’ll use whatever we still have or can find on line.

Will there be a program book?
We no longer prepare a comprehensive program book with performer profiles, photos, and advertisements. We will be handing out the showcase contest ballot throughout the day, which includes a schedule for the weekend.

Where does the money go from donations and sponsorships?
Any donations, grants and other proceeds go toward the costs of putting on the weekend. Proceeds after expenses goes to the Tom Sustic Fund (see below).

What is the Tom Sustic Fund?
A fund was established to support a bone marrow transplant for Tom, mostly generated through a series of benefit events in 1999 and 2000. After several bone marrow drives and continuous monitoring and searching through several million samples on the available registries in North America and Europe, an ideal donor was never located. The intent is to sustain the fund at its present level as a base amount, and to add to it incrementally with events like this concert series, growing the fund as an endowment so that it will be self-sustaining and continually generating revenue that would be used to support other families with terminally ill children, particularly those in need of transplantation.

Several musicians offered to do a performance as part of a series of concerts in Burlington, designed both to strengthen and sustain a fund established in Tom Sustic’s memory (he died at 16 years of age on July 4th, 2001 after a 2-year battle with leukemia) to support families with children with cancer, and to ensure a series of high quality concerts featuring the best performers we can come up with. The events are used to raise awareness about children with leukemia and their families. Doing these types of events coincide with a connection Thomas and his mom and dad (Mark Sustic and Deborah Travis) had for many years with a wide variety of performers. The events help create an environment that was familiar to Tom, and gathers people who knew him in these settings.

For more information about the Fund, contact mark.sustic@gmail.com

What time should you arrive?
If you’re scheduled for something, please try to be available 15 to 30 minutes before you are on. When you arrive, make your way to the performance area, where you should check in with whoever the host and/or emcee is….. don’t be shy about telling people who you are.

What if you need accommodations?
Unless you have communicated with us directly, in advance, we’ve not made any housing arrangements for you.

How do you find the event locations?
Google maps works well for all the locations…… just type in the location title (listed below) and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it.

Where should you park?
You’re on your own with parking. Parking meters don’t apply after 10pm or on Sundays. Saturday during the day be careful to park only where its legal….. handing out parking tickets for expired meters is well-oiled in Burlington.

What should you include in the contest? Is there anything you shouldn’t do?
You can do whatever you’d like, so long as you can keep it in the time limit. Keep in mind that the audience is a mix of young children and young adults, parents, showcase contest performers and their friends and family, and guest performers.

Do performers have to pay for things they aren’t performing in?
We’d love to have you come to as many events as possible, including the ones you’re not scheduled for. The only events with an admission arrangement during the weekend is the contra dance on Friday and the concert on Sunday.

Who will introduce you? What will they say?
There will be emcees for the contest, the concerts, and the awards reception, and they will be introducing performers and making announcements. Please come with some a few notes that you can hand to emcees when you arrive with anything you want to make sure is mentioned during introductions, including places you will be playing, recordings you have made, who you have learned from, who inspires you, etc. These will make a helpful reference for the emcee who is introducing you.

What should you be prepared to say?
Especially for the contest, remember your slot is relatively short…… limit what you say to what you feel is essential. Beyond that, you’re free to say whatever you like. It would be helpful to everyone if you could mention the titles of the tunes, songs or dances you will be doing, where you learned them from, etc. If you have a performance or recording you’d like to mention, want to say thank you to anyone, etc. during your time performing, feel free to do so.

What parents, siblings, friends, etc. can do while you are backstage or on stage?
Be part of the audience and enjoy themselves. Please help us keep the back and side of stage congestion down…. help us make sure only performers and crew members use the backstage and at the side of the stage areas.

What should you do when you are not backstage or on stage performing?
Please do what you can to watch and support the other performers when they are doing their thing. Otherwise there’s tons of things to do and see as part of Kids Day and in downtown Burlington.

What should you wear?
If applicable, feel free to wear whatever is part of what you are presenting…… but this is not a situation where you should wear ‘dressy’ clothes, unless it’s an essential part of your performance…. whatever you are comfortable with is fine with us.

Is there anything special you need to do or to be prepared for?
Be flexible. We’ve tried to anticipate as much as possible, but we’ve also all done these types of things enough that we won’t be surprised if things don’t go exactly as planned. You may be asked to shorten your performance, or to go a little longer….. be prepared to do less than you planned and have an extra thing or 2 just in case someone asks you to go a little longer (the former is more likely than the later!).

With so many performers for the contest and so much going on at Saturday evening concert, things can be a bit hectic. Please make sure that the hosts and emcees know where you are 15 to 30 minutes before you are scheduled.

Will there be a sound system?
Who will be doing the sound? Concerts at BCA Center will be acoustic, and there will be someone will be doing sound for the events at City Hall. You should be prepared to verify with the sound person what you need in terms of sound at least 30 minutes before if you are scheduled at the contest, including any special sound system considerations or if you have pre-recorded music for your set. Bring an iPad or CD (with a small CD player) that is cued up and ready to play, and make sure you’ve got enough battery power.

What if you want to try out the sound system?
We aren’t be able to accommodate sound checks….. you’ll just have to be ready to go when it’s time for your performance. Mics that will be used at the contest are 2 large omnidirectional mics that are set up to capture everything, not as mics to be played into directly. Best approach is play as if acoustically and let the mics pick up the overall sound.

Will you have the chance to practice before you perform?
City Hall has a green room, but otherwise, there will not be any specified rehearsal areas, although there should be places you can go if you want run through a few things before performing.

If you have recordings or other things to sell, how will that work?
We will not be running a sales table. Bring things to sell if you have them, and announce that during your performance…… but you’ll be on your own with selling, collecting money, etc.

What happens if the weather is bad?
Everything will happen as scheduled no matter what the weather is. Check the weather for the contest and prepare accordingly. Everything is under cover, including the contest.

Will there be refreshments/food available?
We will have some drinking water available at the contest, and free pizza will be available after 5pm on Saturday at City Hall…… but no other snacks or meals are provided. Bring whatever you think you might need. There will be a variety of food vendors for Kids Day, and lots of street and other options in downtown Burlington.

Will someone be taking photos?
Hopefully! If you take photos it would be great if you could share them by sending a jpeg copy via e-mail to mark.sustic@gmail.com. Any photos taken or shared with us will not be used for anything other than promoting future Young Tradition Vermont events without your additional notice and permission.

Will someone be video taping?
We expect to be working with someone who will be videotaping the showcase contest. The video may be used for broadcast on their local public access network, but anything other than that is planned without your additional permission. In 2019 the Contest Finals, Mentor-Student Showcase, and Pellerin Tribute Concert were filmed by Lake Champlain Access TV, and can be viewed at the following links:

http://lcatv.org/young-tradition-contest-finals-2019-05-04

http://lcatv.org/yt-mentor-student-showcase-2019-04-04

http://lcatv.org/yt-martha-pellerin-tribute-2019-05-05

Will someone be audio recording?
Likely. We will be making an audio recording from the sound system for the contest and Saturday and Sunday concerts. Audio recordings will not be used for anything other than storage without additional permission from performers.

Who are the people who are in charge and how do you reach them?
Mark Sustic 802-233-5293

Will there be a 18th Young Tradition Weekend in 2021?
We’re hoping to do another one, but we don’t make that decision until until the fall each year. If you think you might like to come back next year, be sure to let us know.

How will contest prize winners be determined? When will the prize winners be announced?
The contest is an important part of the Young Tradition Festival. The winner of the overall contest is selected using a combination of 3 criteria: 1) votes from Board of Directors members and past contest winners (this is done after the submission deadline); 2) audience members who see contestants at the contest and select their favorites (ballots to be completed during the contest during the contest finals ); and 3) votes from judges (e.g. adult performers, past contest winners) present during the Contest Finals. The contest finalists and the overall winners will be announced at 6pm at City Hall at the beginning of the evening showcase concert.

Awards

  • $1000 for best overall/highest percentage of votes……. in addition, the winner of this category will be invited to present something at the Saturday evening concert.
  • $500 for 1st runner-up
  • $250 for 2nd runner-up

All winners will be invited to appear at other events throughout the year

Optional award categories…… these are awarded at the discretion of board members and staff of Young Tradition Vermont

  • Jerry Holland Award: ‘Older Folks Doing Stuff for Younger Folks’ (a teacher, parent, mentor, presenter, writer, etc. who spends time and focus with and for children, youth and young adults who sing, play and/or dance in folk and/or traditional styles)
  • Tom McKenny Award (best sound production)
  • Margaret MacArthur Award (best traditional song)
  • Martha Pellerin Award (best French-Quebecoise song)
  • Sigrid Bronner Award (best singing)
  • Louis Beaudoin Award (best Franco-Quebec fiddle)
  • Willie Beaudoin Award (best guitar rhythm/accompaniment)
  • Doc Watson Award (best guitar solo)
  • Ron West/Roger Eastman Award (best Yankee-Northeast fiddle)
  • Leslie A. and Harold E. Greene Award (best beginner fiddle)
  • Ted Marsden Award (best dance and movement)
  • Rachel Bissex Award (best original song)
  • Pete Seeger Award (best sing-a-long/audience participation)
  • Bob McQuillen Award (best original music or dance)
  • Alan Block Award (best Old Time tune or song)
  • Paddy Cronin Award (best Irish fiddle)
  • Mike Seeger Award (best tune played without a fiddle)
  • Levon Helm Award (best adaption of tradition to new music or dance)
  • Frankie Kennedy Award (best flute, whistle, wind instrument)
  • New American Award (best music or dance from another country)
  • Pete Seeger Award (best sing-along song)

Overall 1st place winners from past contests are not eligible to compete, unless they come in a different format (e.g. if they won as a group, they can come as a solo or as part of a different group….. if they won as a solo, they can come as part of a group).

There will be a small panel of judges at the finals, as well as ballots for audience members to fill out and hand in during the hours of the showcase contest. We will be announcing/notifying the winners during the awards reception after the contest. To keep everything as honest and fair as possible, we request that performers, in addition to their parents, family members, or friends, not fill out multiple ballots for the same performers. We reserve the right to disqualify ballots, including any we feel are duplicates.

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