Rockygrass Instrument Contests

Rockygrass Instrument Contests

Rockygrass Instrument Contests

Rockygrass Instrument Contests

The RockyGrass Music Competitions are traditional bluegrass competitions that began at the 1st Annual Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Festival in 1973. Instrumentalists compete on flatpick guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro, and fiddle to receive beautiful instruments and cash prizes.

The preliminary round is held in the Wildflower Pavilion on Friday and the final rounds are held on the RockyGrass main stage on Saturday morning for all to enjoy — with many of the finalists’ performances broadcast live on KGNU Boulder-Denver.

Registering for the Contest

Registration is now open online.

  • The entry fee is $15 per contest.
  • Since the contests are held inside the festival grounds, all contestants must have either a 3-day pass or single-day tickets for Friday (the preliminary round) and Saturday (finals on the main stage)


1st Place:

New instrument (See below)

2nd Place:


3rd Place:


Rockygrass Instrument Contests

2019 Prize: Deering John Hartford 5-String Banjo

Deering’s American-made Hartford model banjo, designed and built for legendary banjoist/performer John Hartford, has the world-renownedDeering Grenadillo (wood) tone ring.

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Rockygrass Instrument Contests

2019 Prize: Preston Thompson D-MA Guitar

The Preston Thompson Dreadnought guitars are all crafted to produce the tone and volume that the dreadnought guitar was originally designed to achieve.

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Rockygrass Instrument Contests

2019 Prize: San Juan Mandolin F-5

Located in the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado, luthier Bobby Wintringham specializes in making mandolin family instruments one at a time, with an emphasis on hand building and giving each instrument superior tone and playability while staying within the parameters of traditional mandolin design.

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Rockygrass Instrument Contests

2019 Prize: Beard Deco Phonic Model 57 Squareneck

This new series of resonator guitars crafted at the Paul Beard Mastershop in Maryland reflect the stylings of the Art Deco period in which the resonator guitar was originally developed.

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Rockygrass Instrument Contests

2019 Prize: Thomas Verdot Paragon Fiddle

Thomas Verdot studied violin construction with the late Karl Roy, former head of the violin making school in Mittenwald, Germany.

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The preliminary round is held on Friday, July 24 in the Wildflower Pavilion (inside the Festival grounds). The 3 top contestants on each instrument will advance to the contest finals on the Festival main stage on Saturday, July 25. Here are the schedules for each instrument:

  • Banjo
    • 1st prize: New banjo (make/model TBA)
    • Prelims: Friday, 11:30am, Wildflower
    • Finals: Saturday, 10:30am, Main Stage
  • Flatpick Guitar
    • 1st prize: New guitar (make/model TBA)
    • Prelims: Friday, 1:00pm, Wildflower
    • Finals: Saturday, 10:15am, Main Stage
  • Mandolin
    • 1st prize: New mandolin (make/model TBA)
    • Prelims: Friday, 2:30pm, Wildflower
    • Finals: Saturday, 10:00am, Main Stage
  • Fiddle
    • 1st prize: New fiddle (make/model TBA)
    • Prelims: Friday, 4:00pm, Wildflower
    • Finals: Saturday, 9:45am, Main Stage
  • Dobro
    • 1st prize: New dobro (make/model TBA)
    • Prelims: Friday, 5:30pm, Wildflower
    • Finals: Saturday, 9:30am, Main Stage


2019 Winners