Registration Instructions


Preparation is key to successful performances, so it’s a key part of the Acoustic Kids experience.

There are a lot of moving parts to our showcases, and our goal is for every participant to have a successful, enjoyable performance experience as part of a festival set. Detailed planning supports this goal. Our motto is:

Walnut Valley Fest, KS – Photo by Brad Case

“No surprises, no train wrecks!”

Our Approach:

Pre-festival Registration
Participant and Performance Piece registration takes place well ahead of the festival.

Registration opens 2 1/2 to 3 months ahead of the festival

  • Participants register their proposed Performance Pieces as well as themselves. Performance Pieces are the songs or tunes that will be considered for the showcases.
  • Demos of 1 – 3 Performance Pieces are required as part of registration. (See Demo FAQ)

Registration closes 4-5 weeks before the festival starts.

Pre-festival Organization & Showcase Set-Up
Once registration closes, Andy reviews all the registered Performance Pieces and puts together showcases based on that material.

In planning the showcases, Andy considers:

  • The overall strengths of each performer as well as where they might need a little more support
  • Each participant’s registered Performance Pieces as represented by their demos
  • The flow of the show and where each performer will likely showcase most successfully within it.
  • Logistics and other practicalities
  • Performers’ scheduling preferences as stated on their registration forms

About two weeks before the festival starts, we notify all parents and performers of:

  • Their showcase assignments
  • Which of their registered Performance Pieces Andy selected for them to showcase.
Pre-Showcase Orientation
There is a mandatory 1-hour pre-showcase orientation for all performers and their accompanists.

We use this time for:

  • Roll call and meet & greet
  • Announcing participants’ performance order
  • Andy to go over each participant’s Performance Piece(s) with them (and their accompanist, if they have one) and answer any remaining questions.
  • Tuning, warm-up, and taking care of any last-minute instrument issues
  • Focusing


Click on a heading or to reveal details.
refers to a registered performer, either individual or group.
Your demos serve to register your Performance Pieces as as well as yourself for the showcase.
Contact us if the online or other technology is a roadblock. We will work with you. It’s about the music, not the tech!

Winfield - KS - Andy May -Acoustic Kids - The Little Rascals

Showcase Eligibility

If you will be18 years old or younger on the first day of the festival and can confidently play or sing through at least one verse and chorus of one song or tune, you are eligible to perform in Acoustic Kids.

  • Electric instruments, as well as acoustic, ARE allowed in Acoustic Kids!
  • There are some festival practicalities to consider: you do have to be able to get it on and off the stage – with your parents’ assistance, as needed!
  • Let us know on your registration form of any out-of-the-ordinary setup requirements.
  • Accompanists may be any age.
  • Music teachers, older siblings, parents and other musical mentors are welcome in a supporting role as accompanists.
  • Accompanists 18 or younger are also considered Acoustic Kids, even if they don’t play lead: All performers younger than 18 need to register in order to participate.
  • One Acoustic Kid performing with an accompanist over the age of 18 counts as an individual performance rather than a group.

Duos, trios, and larger bands are welcome in Acoustic Kids.

  • Each group member younger than 18 must register individually to provide parental permission to participate.
  • One (and only one) group member has to register the group and submit the group demos.

Mixed-age groups and family bands are welcome!

  • Adult group members play a support role in Acoustic Kids performances and should not take breaks. 
  • Adults should not outnumber the registered Acoustic Kids in a group. Please trim the group down to no more than are needed to support the young musician(s) in your group.
Acoustic Kids Ambassadors

Andy chooses the Ambassadors from among all the registered Acoustic Kids for each festival. You don’t have to do anything extra, and it doesn’t matter which day or time you choose for your regular showcase.


Demos at a Glance

Demos are the building blocks of Acoustic Kids Showcases. Your own demos are the core of your registration. Make sure they are accurate, clear representations of Performance Pieces you actually want to present in Acoustic Kids and that they follow our guidelines.

Performance Piece/Demo Guidelines

Andy and Lauren process dozens of Performance Piece demos per festival. Demos that meet these criteria make this task a joy! 

Demo Content

Each of your demos should:

  • Have clear audio 
  • Be of a tune or song that you want to perform in the showcase 
  • Contain only one Performance Piece
  • Include the whole Performance Piece, not just a sample
  • Be a recent performance showing youre current mastery of the Performance Piece 
  • Be the same length performance in the demo as it will be in the showcase 
  • Include the same individuals as will be in the showcase no one missing or extra 
  • Include the same instrument(s) in the demo as in the showcase – nothing missing or extra
  • Feature Acoustic Kids only (adults are welcome to provide backup) 
  • Be no longer than 3 minutes unless pre-approved by Andy (See Demo Nitty Gritty)
  • Be accessible to Andy standard format, shared correctly  See Demo Nitty Gritty
Supporting info for demos

  • Please provide correct demo length in registration form rather than a ballpark figure
  • Groups: identify who is playing which instrument in the demo 

Demo Nitty-Gritty

Having demos that meet our guidelines makes it possible for Andy to plan the showcases before the festival. He can only consider registered Performance Pieces, and he may not be able to consider Performance Pieces for which the demos fall short. It is worth making sure you send good demos with your registration!

Detailed Guidelines
and Pro Tips
  • Pro Tips:
    • Best practice is to record a new, clean demo of each Performance Piece and make sure it meets all the guidelines.
    • Print this list and use it as a checklist as you review your demos before you submit them.
  • Performance Piece guidelines Performance Pieces must be
    • Less than three minutes for individual performers. Shorter is fine.
    • Age-appropriate material and suitable for a family audience.
  • Demo guidelines:
    • The purpose of the demos is to allow Andy to to evaluate Performance Pieces for showcase placement:
      • Clear audio is essential.
        • Avoid background noises (wind in the mic, traffic noise, people talking, etc.)
        • Make sure your instrument and/or voice are clear and prominent in the recording.
      • Cellphone audio/video is perfectly fine.
      • Use a recent performance that represents your current level of achievement on the Performance Pieces.
    • Demos must match what you plan to do in the showcase, including:
      • The arrangement (length, instrumentation, lyrics, etc.) 
      • The complete piece (not just a representative snippet)
      • Accompanist, if any. Accompanists affect your performance, so they are integral to the demo.
        • If you plan to perform with an accompanist, which is fine, your accompanist in the demo must be the person who will accompany you in the showcase.
        • If you plan to perform solo, your demo must be a solo performance.
        • See additional information under Accompanists, below.
    • Demo Performance Piece length: 3-minute max. In a festival setting, it is important to stay within allotted times. 
      • Shorter is fine even much shorter for beginners. Many do a 30-second rendition of a verse/chorus of one or two tunes.
      • Provide the length of the Performance Piece from your demo, not an estimate. This goes into a tally of times for Performance Pieces that we use to keep our showcases on-track. 
      • In certain situations, bands can submit a longer Performance Piece in order to give all Acoustic Kids in the group a chance to shine. Please get Andy’s approval before submitting a demo longer than 3 minutes. ⇨ Contact Us
How to choose your Performance Pieces
Send us your strongest pieces!
  • Choose Performance Pieces you are already confident in performing. While you may be excited about a new piece you are learning, and though you very well may master it before the showcase, Andy can only evaluate the performance you send him on your demo.
  • Make sure your demo is a good representation of the best you can do on the Performance Piece at the time you submit it.
  • We love originals! Include an original if you have one that meets the Performance Piece guidelines.
  • If you have a variety of skills you’d like to showcase, send a variety of demos. (Read more in Number of Demos to Submit, below)
Number of demos to submit:
You are allowed to submit demos for 1-3 Performance Pieces.
  • If you have three or more pieces that you are confident performing, register three. This may well give you more stage time in the showcase.
  • If you just have one, you are equally welcome! Submit what you have.
  • Please contact us if you play several instruments and you can’t cover everything you’d like to play in the showcase in the three demos the form allows. ⇨ Contact Us
  • If there is time in the showcase, it may be possible to allow extra Performance Pieces for larger groups with extensive repertoires so that all age-eligible members get a chance to shine. Please Contact us if you feel that you need to submit extra or longer demos to represent your group. ⇨ Contact Us
Recordings of live performances don’t always make good demos
  • Only use live recordings if they meet all the Acoustic Kids demo criteria.
  • Rather than submitting a recording of a live performance that doesn’t meet our needs as a demo, take a few minutes to record a solid demo during a practice.
  • We do want to know where you’ve played, but not necessarily from your demos. You can tell us about venues you’ve played, contests you’ve won, etc. in several places on the registration form.
Demo delivery
Vastly preferred method: Provide a link to video (or audio) files you have uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, or your own website. There is a place to do this in the registration form.
  • Pro Tips:
    • Get your demos recorded and uploaded before starting the registration form.
    • If you hit a snag, you can save your incomplete registration form and finish it later.
  • URL links in the registration form
    • By far the easiest for us to manage!
    • Please double-check your links!
    • Public or unlisted files are fine, BUT:
  • Other possible methods
    • These files must have the performer’s name and the song title in the filename!
    • On DropBox, OneDrive, iCloud, etc.
    • By email to [email protected] (only with prior approval)

Registration Pointers

The Acoustic Kids registration form must be filled out and signed online by a parent or guardian for participants aged 17 or younger.

Once you have your demos together, registering is fast and easy!

Parts of the Form:

Parental Permissions and contact info
  • Permission to participate in the showcases
  • Photo/video release
  • Contact info (email & phone number) for communication during showcase setup
Your Performer Profile
Register as an individual performer (with or without an accompanist), as part of a group, or as both.


  • Register even if you are only performing as part of a group and not as an individual. We need your parental permission and profile info.
  • Submit demos of your individual Performance Pieces if you are registering for an individual showcase spot. If you are also registering as part of a group, your individual demos and the group demos will be different.
  • If are bringing an accompanist or duo partner who is older than 18, even if you play as a band, register for an individual spot and indicate that you will be bringing an accompanist.
  • Tell us a little about yourself and your interests accomplishments, musical and otherwise, so that Andy can introduce you properly.


  • A duo counts as a group if both members are 18 or younger.
  • All members of the group who are 18 or younger must register and indicate that they are part of the group — even if they are not performing individually as well.
  • Only one group member registers the group. There is a place on the regular registration form to indicate that you want to register a group along with your individual registration. When you check that box:
    • You will serve as the group contact.
    • The Group Registration section opens in your registration form and you can:
      • List the group members and their instruments.
      • Provide a brief group bio.
      • Provide the group’s Performance Piece demos.
Performance Piece Registration
Submit demos to register your Performance Pieces.

Please submit your demos with your registration.

  • You can save your registration form to finish later if you need time to collect your demos.
  • We deal with dozens to hundreds of demos per festival. It is extremely confusing and time-consuming for us to receive demos that aren’t part of a performer’s registration.

Commit to your registered Performance Pieces!

  • Before registration closes, it may be possible to make changes if absolutely necessary.
  • After registration closes, registered Performance Pieces may be withdrawn, but substitutions or other changes are typically not possible.

Next Steps

Between registration and the day of the showcase, there is time for participants to polish up their performances! Typically, everyone’s performance improves between registration and showcase as they focus on their registered Performance Pieces. It’s fun to see the difference a few weeks of focused practice can make!


Check out our ⇨ Acoustic Kids FAQ!

⇨ Ask Us!

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