The 2014 FreshGrass festival, held on the campus of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, will again host their FreshGrass Awards during the weekend of September 18-21. Cash awards and free recording time will be offered in three categories: bands, duos and banjo.
Only independent, unsigned bluegrass artists are eligible to compete in this competition. Five finalists in each category will be chosen by a jury of music professionals, and invited to perform on a special contest stage at the festival. All finalists will receive 3-day FreshGrass passes, with a total of $15,000 cash prizes up for grabs. Other awards include free recording time donated by Compass Records, and an opportunity to perform of the 2015 festival.
Entries must be received by August 5, and finalists will be announced shortly afterwards. Submissions are accepted via an online form, to include audio files uploaded to SoundCloud, and YouTube or Vimeo video of one original and one traditional song, along with a photo and contact details. There is no cost to submit for the competition, and entrants will be judged on the basis of compositional originality, instrumental and vocal skills, and stage presence.
The finals will be held during the festival at an indoor venue away from the main stage.
FreshGrass takes an expansive view of bluegrass, as a look at their 2014 lineup makes clear. It’s fair to assume that the same will be true of the judging in the competition.
The festival is especially proud of last year’s band winner, Cricket Tell the Weather, who will perform on their main stage in September. Here’s a video they shot last summer shortly before the competition.
Their debut album has recently been released, and can be heard and purchased through bandcamp.