One more day to register for the John Hartford Memorial Band Contest

String bands interested in entering the band competition at the 2019 John Hartford Memorial Festival have until tomorrow evening (2/28) to submit an application. The contest offers generous prizes and stage time at the event, held at the Bill Monroe Music Park in Bean Blossom, IN.

This will be the 9th year this fest has been held at Bean Blossom, presenting a wide mix of progressive bluegrass and Americana acts like Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Della Mae, and Larry Keel.

The band contest runs May 31 – June 1, with two rounds of competition before the judges that weekend. Finalists are chosen from the first round, who will perform again for the judges on Saturday.

This is an invitational contest, and 12 bands will be chosen from among the submissions received. There is no charge to apply, but the 12 acts picked to compete must all pay a $100 entry fee upon being chosen. Band members receive free passes to the festival, but must cover their own parking and camping fees.

First prize carries a $1,000 cash award, plus a slot on the 2020 festival. $500 will go to second place, with $300 for third and $200 for fourth.

All 12 invited bands must perform without electric instruments on a single microphone stage setup, though a direct line for a bass pickup is allowed. No stylistic or genre guidelines are issued, but one would think that music in the style of the acts booked for the stage show would be recommended.

Bands will be judged on four primary considerations: material selected, vocal performance, instrumental ability, and stage presence.

Full details and an online application can be found on the festival web site.

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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.