The FreshGrass and No Depression Awards celebrate and reward emerging artists who offer innovative interpretations of bluegrass and roots music traditions. With five categories and prizes totaling more than $25,000 cash — plus brand new instruments and studio time at Compass Records — we’re proud that our awards are among the most ambitious of their kind.
If you are an unsigned band, banjoist, fiddler or mandolinist (new in 2019!), have wicked skills, and are performing music that’s deeply informed by bluegrass even as it tests boundaries, we want to hear you. Once you’ve submitted and been pre-screened, a panel of judges will invite three finalists in each category to participate in a head-to-head performance at the Freshgrass Festival. Each finalist will need to perform one standard or traditional tune and one original composition.
The grand prize winner in each category — selected on the basis of compositional originality, instrumental and vocal skills, stage presence and performance, and proficiency in the tradition — will take home an array of additional prizes, including a large grant, the opportunity to perform at the following year’s festival, recording sessions at Compass Records, and hand-crafted instruments.
NO DEPRESSION SINGER-SONGWRITER AWARD
The No Depression Singer-Songwriter Award recognizes and rewards up-and-coming roots music singer-songwriters from the U.S. and beyond. A preliminary committee will narrow the field of submissions to three finalists, who will travel to the FreshGrass Festival to perform in front of a live audience. A panel comprised of No Depression editors and artist judges will select a winner on the merits of their lyrics, music, instrumentation, and overall performance. All music is original in this competition, and all performances are solo.