A national dance contest was sponsored by the American Federation of Musicans to find the best new dance band of the year. On March 16, 1959, the local contest, sponsored by the Minneapolis Musicians’ Association, took place at the Marigold Ballroom. Each band would play four numbers. The winner would compete in a regional contest in Des Moines; a semi-final in Chicago; and the final in New York. The winner was promised a recording contract with Decca records, a national TV appearance, all new instruments, and weeks of bookings at ballrooms all over the country. Entry was free, bands could not have more than 15 pieces, and the music had to be “modern dance music.” “(Other contests for rock ‘n’ roll, hillbilly, western, old time, Dixieland, or be-bop may be held later.)” Bands would be judged on showmanship (appearance and presence); tone quality; rhythm; and musical arrangements.