Finalists announced for Youth in Bluegrass Band Contest

18 finalists have been selected for the KSMU Youth in Bluegrass Band Contest, to be held on May 25 at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO.

This is the premiere bluegrass competition for young musicians in the country. Contestants are chosen through a preliminary round of submissions for a chance to go head-to-head during the big, month-long Bluegrass & BBQ festival at the park.

The first place band gets a check for $1500, so youth groups have a strong motivation to make the trip to Missouri. This year there are contestants from 14 states.

A list of 2019 invitees follows:

  • Bazemore Bluegrass Band – Bristow, OK
  • Blackberry Blossom Farm – Red Bluff, CA
  • Buffalo Mountain Bluegrass Band – Newport, PA
  • The Cheng Family – Edmond, OK
  • Chords of Grace – San Antonio, TX
  • Dixie Jubilee – Woodstock, GA
  • The Ellis Family – Pope, MS
  • Figuring It Out – Bemidji, MN
  • Hand Picked – New Athens, IL
  • Kentucky Just Us – Glasgow, KY
  • The Mahlstedt Family – Cokato, MN
  • Ozark Highways – Galena, MO
  • Paul Family Bluegrass – Trout Creek, MI
  • Pearlgrace & Co. – Ada, OK
  • Riegle Family Band – Muncie, IN
  • Roller Family Band – New Richmond, WI
  • Simple Gifts – Weatherford, TX
  • Tucumcari Crossroads – Tucumcari, NM

The rules are few. Other than parents, all band members must be 21 or younger as of May 25, 2019; only a single microphone can be used on stage; no electric instruments. 

Performers are judged 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%.

The complete contest rules can be found online.

There is no charge above park admission to attend the the Bluegrass & BBQ festival, which runs from May 2-27. Each day features music from a number of bluegrass acts, including nearly every prominent touring act in the business.

A complete list of entertainers, and the dates they will perform, can be found online.

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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.