Beg, Steal or Borrow wins 2017 Podunk Band Competition

Beg, Steal Or Borrow competing at the 2017 Podunk Bluegrass Festival – photo by Ted Lehmann

Last weekend’s Podunk Bluegrass Festival in Hebron, CT saw the selection of Beg, Steal Or Borrow as the winner of the band competition. They were chosen both by the panel of judges, and the audience as the fan favorite, the first time this has happened at Podunk.

Coming from northern Vermont, this five-piece group is made up of friends who each came to bluegrass from a different musical upbringing. They take as their example the famous ’70s west coast band, Old & In The Way, right down to the number of syllables, and bring songs from outside the genre and give them a bluegrass treatment. It obviously worked for the judges and the attendees at Podunk.

As winners, they will be given a main stage slot at next year’s festival. Taking first at Podunk has served as a fine introduction for a number of successful groups, including Joy Kills Sorrow, Gold Heart, The Packway Handle Band, and Mile Twelve, all past winners.

Beg, Steal, Or Borrow consists of Jeremy Sicely on guitar, Geoff Goodhue on mandolin, Roland Clark on fiddle, Fran Forim  on bass, and Luke Auriemmo on banjo.

Judges at Podunk this year included Ken Irwin from Rounder, Arnie Fleisher from the Emelin Theatre in New York, bluegrass radio personality Darwin Davidson, and banjo professional Dave Dick. Following the competition, the judges all sat down with the winning band to offer constructive critique and suggestions.

The band took home a pair of Telefunken microphones valued at $1200.

Other finalists for 2017 were Mama’s Marmalade, High Strung Reunion, and The Korey Brodsky Band.

This was the 21st year for Podunk, which has been helmed by Roger Moss all along. But this was his final year as Executive Director, as he is taking a position in Morgantown, WV and will be moving soon. The festival had been awarded as the IBMA Event of the Year in 2010. Well done, Roger!

And congratulations to Beg, Steal, Or Borrow.

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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.