Entries due for 2023 Hazel Dickens Song Contest 

The DC Bluegrass Union Hazel Dickens Song Contest celebrates the life and muse of one of bluegrass music’s most beloved songwriters. 

Each year since 2014, the DC Bluegrass Union (DCBU) has extended invitations to songwriters in recognition of the enduring influence of a singular artist, and one of the first female songwriters to specialize in our music. Hazel Dickens, along with her partner for many years, Alice Gerrard, was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2017. 

The prestigious contest is open for original bluegrass and bluegrass gospel songs, with an entrance fee of $30.00 per song. There isn’t any limit on the number of entries. The first, second, and third place winners receive cash prizes ($500 / $250 / $100) as well as giving the writers exposure in the wider bluegrass music community.  

It is open to entries from all locations and from new and long-time songwriters alike. 

Judging by three volunteers, who are leaders in the music industry and independent of the DC Bluegrass Union, is based on the merits of the individual song – originality, lyrics, and melody – not on the production or performance quality of the submission. 

The entry deadline is midnight on January 9, 2023. All online entries and entry fee payments must be received by this time.

All entry fees submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than January 9, 2023.

For details about the entry process see the DCBU website where a PDF form can be accessed for mail-in options.  

The top three winners will be announced on February 19, 2023.

Previous winners include Gary A. Ferguson; Nancy Cardwell Erdos; David Morris and Dawn Kenney; Pam Gadd; Korby Lenker and Molly Tuttle; Corrina Rose Logston Stephens; Louisa Branscomb and Jennifer Zapolnik; and Carley Arrowood.  

All proceeds from the Hazel Dickens Song Contest help to fund the DCBU, which is a 501(c)(3) all-volunteer organization with a mission to promote bluegrass music in the greater Washington area through education and performance. 

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.