One of the premier opportunities for bluegrass bands setting out on a life of music. Cash, industry connections, and inspiration await!

FIRST PRIZE: $5,000 CASH
+ RECORDING SESSION AT COMPASS
+ ON-STAGE PERFORMANCE AT FRESHGRASS 2015
+ BRAGGING RIGHTS

 

The First Prize winner will be invited to a one-day recording session at Compass Records in Nashville, Tennessee, including studio time, engineering, and production/mentoring from Compass Records’ Alison Brown. The band must provide its own lodging and transportation to and from Nashville, and the date must be scheduled in advance with Compass. Additional recording time at Compass Records, if desired, will be offered at a specially discounted FreshGrass rate, subject to studio time availability at Compass.

SECOND PRIZE: $1,500 CASH

 

THIRD PRIZE: $500 CASH

 

FOURTH & FIFTH PRIZE: $250 HONORARIUM PER BAND

 

ALL FINALISTS: COMPLIMENTARY THREE-DAY PASS TO THE FESTIVAL
+ PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND
+ PERMISSION TO SELL ALBUMS AT THE FESTIVAL

 

Contest Rules

  • Overview
    There is no fee or payment of any kind to enter the contest. All participants must submit the two video recordings described below. In addition, the five finalists must provide their own lodging and transportation to and from the FreshGrass festival, and must appear in person to play before a jury to be considered for the cash prizes. Each performing member will be given one complimentary 3-day pass to the festival. The live competition will be recorded and, at the discretion of FreshGrass, may be included in a FreshGrass 2014 compilation album.
  • Band Members
    3 – 8 Members
  • Media Submission
    Please fill out the competition application form, including links to YouTube or Vimeo video recordings of two songs: 1) one traditional (public domain) bluegrass tune; and 2) one original composition written by one or more band members. At least one of the two submissions must have vocals and harmonies for the application to be considered. The videos must be no longer than five minutes each, and should be from 2014. In addition, you are encouraged to submit a SoundCloud track as part of your application.
  • Production Support
    The contest stage will be set up with a line of vocal and instrument mics.
  • Instrumentation
    The band must include at least two of the following instruments: banjo, acoustic guitar, dobro/steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle, or bass. No drums are allowed but box and other creative percussion is okay. No electric instruments or pickups are allowed, except for the electric bass.
  • Important Notes

    While the Award will focus on fresh approaches within the bluegrass genre, the jurors will also be listening for music that demonstrates a high level of proficiency in traditional – as well as contemporary – bluegrass singing and playing techniques.No band member may participate in more than one band, or participate in the duo contest. Banjoists in bands are welcome to also participate in the banjo contest.

    No competing band may be signed to a record label or be subject to a pre-existing third-party publisher agreement. Self-released CDs and DIY distribution are not disqualifying.

    Submissions will be accepted from 12am EST on April 15, 2014, through 11:59pm EST on August 5, 2014. No submissions will be accepted prior to or after that submission period.

    To always hear the latest news about the contest be sure to check the “FreshGrass” checkbox.

    The Jurors will be announced in July, 2014. Note that depending on the number of submissions, the FreshGrass festival organizers may, based on their own evaluation of the award criteria, select a group of semi-finalists to be submitted to the jury for the jury’s selection of finalists.

    The five finalist bands will be notified and announced in mid-August 2014, and a list of the finalists will be posted on this website.

    The FreshGrass organizers and jurors can disqualify submissions for any reason, including poor-quality video. Moreover, the jurors will select the First, Second and Third Prize winners based on their discretion applying the criteria set forth below; the decision of the jury will be binding and final.

  • At the Festival

    The five (5) finalist bands will play two songs for the jury. They will have a maximum of 10 minutes on stage, inclusive of both songs. Set-up time is 5 minutes. One of the songs must be a traditional (public domain) bluegrass tune, and one must be original material, written by one or more members of the band. One instrumental, and one with vocals and harmonies. We prefer to hear music other than the songs you submitted by video, though that is not a requirement. The jurors will also be looking for dynamic range in your choice of song tempos, rhythms, and tone. Mix it up for us!

    Scoring will be based on the following criteria:

    Originality: 40%
    Instrumental and vocal skill: 35%
    Proficiency in the tradition: 25%

    Winners will be announced on-stage at FreshGrass 2014 and on this website following the festival.

    Participants will be required to enter into a Submission Agreement in order to enter the contest. Please read these Official Rules and Submission Agreement carefully and in their entirety prior to entering the contest, and do not enter the contest unless you agree to all terms and conditions of both these Official Rules and the Submission Agreement. Please sign the check box on the official entry form to indicate your agreement.