Wayne Henderson Guitar Competition returns this year

The organizers of the annual Wayne Henderson Festival, held in Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, are delighted to announce that not only will the festival return in 2022 after two COVID cancellations, but that the very popular guitar competition will be back this year as well.

An internationally-recognized guitarist, Henderson is known as much or more for the highly-valued acoustic guitars he builds, with waiting times as much as several years to obtain one. Wayne builds as the spirit moves him, and even big payouts don’t encourage him to build more than his custom and habit suggests.

Known officially as the Wayne C. Henderson Guitar Competition, the first prize is a new Wayne Henderson guitar, valued at several thousand dollars. Additional prizes include $300 for second, $200 for third, $150 for fourth, and $100 for fifth. This event draws some highly skilled flatpickers, and the contest selects twenty contestants and ten alternates at random from those applying. A $20 application fee is all that is required to be considered for the contest, and those not chosen can request that fee back.

Applications will be accepted during the month of April only, and a downloadable and printable entry form can be found online, along with complete contest rules.

Contestants will be judged on timing, style, tuning, and difficulty of material, execution, clarity, and overall performance.

Both the competition and the festival benefit a scholarship program for young people to learn and improve as bluegrass and old time musicians. A portion of each year’s events are set aside for this purpose, and the Wayne Henderson Festival has distributed more than $250,000 in scholarships to date.

See all the necessary information 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.