19th KSMU Youth in Bluegrass Band Contest a go for 2021

Good news today from Silver Dollar City, the popular family-themed entertainment park in Branson, MO.

Plans are in place to go ahead with the 2021 edition of Bluegrass & BBQ, presenting top bluegrass acts every day in the park from May 14-31, including their celebrated competition for young grassers, KSMU Youth in Bluegrass Band Contest on May 28-29. Now in its 19th year, the invitational event was unable to be held in 2020, owing to COVID-19 restrictions, but by following current CDC guidelines, Silver Dollar City believes that they can hold the contest, and mini-bluegrass festival, safely this year.

The park will operate at limited capacity, and masks will be required for visitors and staff alike. All visitors will undergo temperature checks upon entry, and social distancing and additional sanitation measures will be in effect. 

There is major prize money for the winners of the Youth in Bluegrass Band Contest, with $1500 going to first place winners, $1000 for second, $750 for third, $500 for fourth, and $250 for fifth.

The competition is limited to bands with musicians who will be 21 or younger on May 28. Family bands are given an exemption for parents who perform with young children, but the focus of the group needs to be on the youngsters. Ten bands are accepted for the contest, selected based on video applications. Only acoustic instruments are allowed, and each participating band will perform live on stage using a single microphone.

As in years past, scoring will be based on:

  • Instrumental ability (in time, in tune, degree of difficulty) 25%
  • Vocal ability (in time, in tune, degree of difficulty) 25%
  • Professionalism (wardrobe, showmanship, microphone technique) 25%
  • Audience response 25%

Full contest rules and an application form can be found online.

It is great to see Silver Dollar City going ahead with bluegrass in the spring.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.