Mandolin Award - FreshGrass

From the pool of submissions, FreshGrass organizers invite three finalists to compete for the FreshGrass Mandolin Award. On the festival weekend, the finalists travel to North Adams and perform in front of a jury and a large live audience. The jury will select the winner, and they will be announced on Sunday afternoon from the main stage.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at: [email protected].

2019 Winner

Tristan Scroggins

Nashville, Tennessee
With a signature raw mandolin groove and keen sensitivity to style and artistic innovation, twenty-four-year-old mandolinist Tristan Scroggins is quickly becoming a highly influential voice of both music and community in the world of bluegrass. As a teenager, he and his dad Jeff formed the band Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, which found international success, touring 300 days a year at its peak and appearing at festivals such as Merlefest and Wintergrass. Although he is known for his traditional mandolin chops, Tristan also has a keen interest in pushing the boundaries of the genre. With his duo Scroggins and Rose, (with Grammy-nominated violinist and composer Alisa Rose), he has worked on incorporating classical song forms and arrangements into bluegrass-inspired tunes


All three finalists will get the following:
• $500 award grant each (but you must show up on the festival weekend and perform in the competition in order to collect this)
• One pop-up performance in the museum on Saturday or Sunday
• Complimentary three-day pass to the festival for each finalist
• Permission to sell your albums at the festival (if applicable)
• Name listed in the FreshGrass line up online and in any marketing materials
• Chance to win the grand prize!

1st Place: $2,000 additional cash grand prize grant and a brand new top-of-the-line instrument


• There is no fee or payment of any kind to enter the contest.
• All participants must fill out the online submission form to be considered for a finalist slot.
• You may not be signed to a record label or be subject to a pre-existing third-party publisher agreement. Self-released CDs and DIY distribution are OK.
• Finalists will be chosen by the FreshGrass organizers based on originality (40%), instrument skill (35%), proficiency in the tradition (25%).
• The submission must include one original tune composed or written by the performer and one traditional or standard bluegrass tune.


• Each finalist will play two songs in front of the jury and a large live audience.
• You may have one accompanying musician playing with you.
• You will have a maximum of 10 minutes on stage (not including set-up), or 5 minutes per song. Songs that go over 5 minutes will negatively affect your score.
• One song must be a standard or traditional bluegrass tune and one song must be original material, written by the performer.
• The jury will be looking for dynamic range in your choice of song tempos, rhythms, and tone.
• You must provide your own lodging and transportation to and from the FreshGrass festival.
• The live competition will be recorded and, at the discretion of FreshGrass, may be included in a FreshGrass compilation video, or may be aired on PBS, or streamed on No Depression.