2021 FreshGrass Awards for instrumental bluegrass

The FreshGrass Foundation has announced more than $25,00 in prizes for the 2021 FreshGrass Awards. Winners are selected in a two-stage process, with finalists chosen from submissions received by June 15, who then compete during the FreshGrass festival in Massachusetts, September 24-26.

The competition is open to any unsigned artists who play bluegrass, or bluegrass-inspired music. Categories this year include band, banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin. Cash prizes are awarded to the winners in each category, along with new instruments for the pickers, and a day of recording with Compass Records for the band.

One unique aspect of the FreshGrass Awards is that each of the three finalists in any category will receive a cash grant of $500 ($1000 for band) to help cover travel expenses to the festival. Every finalist will receive free tickets for the weekend, and winners get an award of $2000 ($5000 for band), plus a chance to perform on the festival stage.

There is no fee to submit for this competition, and an online submission form is provided. Be ready to upload a high resolution photo and two videos of you or your band performing as part of the process. These must be received by June 15 to be eligible, an extension to their usual May 15 deadline.

Those chosen to compete as finalists should be prepared to play two songs on stage before the judges, an original and a traditional/standard song or tune, with no more than ten minutes total time allowed. Bands are expected to perform at least one song with vocal harmonies, and the other can be an instrumental. No member of a finalist band may compete with another band in the contest, but are free to submit for instrument awards.

You can see the complete rules and the submission form on the FreshGrass Awards web site. Good luck!

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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.