Entries are now being accepted for the 2nd annual Scott Street Five String Finals competition, to be held in Richmond, VA on October 8. Held in conjunction with the Richmond Folk Festival, the competition is hosted in honor of the late Scott Street, a prominent Richmond attorney who dedicated much of his life to playing the banjo and helping young people rise up in the music.
The aim of the contest is to name the best young banjo player in Virginia. It is limited to pickers 18 and under, as of October 8, 2016. Three finalists will be chosen based on the submission of preliminary YouTube videos, and the top three will be invited to the Richmond Folk Festival for the finals, which will be live on stage before an panel of banjo experts, led by Sonny Osborne.
And for 2016, the competition is expanded into two division, bluegrass and old time banjo. The first place winners in each will receive a Scott Street Five String Finals trophy identifying them as the top young banjo picker in the state, a demo recording session at In Your Ear Studio in Richmond, and a cash prize. Runner ups will also be awarded a cash prize and music merchandise.
Full details are spelled out on the official contest submission page online, which includes an entry form to be completed by any potential contestant and their parent or legal guardian. The submission form is quite brief, but must include the link to a YouTube video of the contestant playing a piece which can be considered for judging.
The submission deadline is September 30, and finalists in both bluegrass and old time banjo will be notified no later than October 2.
This annual competition serves as a perfect tribute to Scott Street, whose generosity towards banjo players and bluegrass musicians in general was bound only by his lifespan. A highly successful attorney – he was a former President of the Virginia Bar Association – he was always at the ready to assist the musicians he cared about in any way he could, sharing his expertise and good fortune to help them stay on their feet. Scott was also active in JAM Inc, a Richmond organization that works to bring musical experiences to young people in the city schools.
Cancer took Scott early in 2015, and the Scott Street Banjo Finals were launched in the summer of that year.
There is no entry fee, so banjo players, get those videos posted and submission in by September 30!
UPDATE 6:38 p.m.: The organizers of this event have asked that we also include the following…
The contest is not restricted to Virginia players…open to anyone willing to come to Richmond if they’re finalists. Sonny Osborne, IBMA Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member leads our judging panel. Scott Street worked for years gathering material for a biography on Sonny but never finished. Bill Evans has agreed to pick up the project although we haven’t had any recent discussion with him on progress.
Winners in each division receive a handsome custom trophy, a demo recording session at In Your Ear Studios and a $1000 cash prize. Runners up get $600 with $400 awarded to third place contestants.