The Wildmans, band competition winners in the 2022 FreshGrass Awards
This past weekend at the FreshGrass Festival in North Adams, MA, selected finalists went head-to-head in the 2022 FreshGrass Awards competition.
The contest is held each year in two stages, with a total of over $20,000 in prize money on the line. In the first round, bands and instrumentalists are invited to submit entries on video, which are then reviewed by judges. From that stage, three finalists are chosen for banjo, guitar, fiddle, and band contests.
These finalists are invited to compete in person at the festival before another panel of judges, who declare the winners.
Coming out on top in the band competition this year was The Wildmans, a trio of old time and bluegrass musicians from Virginia all currently studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Other finalists included Muddy Souls from Eugene, OR and the Max Schwartz Band from Needham, MA.
Taking top honors in banjo was G Rockwell, a young Connecticut picker also studying in Boston, but at the New England Conservatory of Music. He is also the winner of the 2017 Scott Street Five String Finals in Richmond, VA. His fellow finalists were Max Schwartz of Needham, MA and Nikolai Margulis from Fayetteville, AR.
In guitar, Alex Rubin was the first prize winner, a resident of Cambridge, MA who is currently at work on a solo guitar album. Nick Weitzenfeld of Floyd, VA and Alex Formento of Boston were his fellow finalists.
The fiddle competition was so close this year that the judges declared all three finalists as winners, with each receiving a share of the prize money. Camille Vogely-Howes of Columbus, OH, Sam Stage of Raleigh, NC, and Minnie Jordan of Brooklyn, NY each was named as first prize recipients.
All finalists chosen for the FreshGrass Awards receive a monetary payment to help cover travel expenses to compete in the finals. Each band finalist receives a grant of $1,000, with the winner receiving $5,000. Instrument finalists each get a $500 grant, with $2,500 to the winners.
In light of the tie for fiddle, each of the three finalists received the full $2,500 prize.
Congratulations to all the finalists, and to the winners of the 2022 FreshGrass Awards.