Rockygrass Band Contest
Bands compete around a single microphone for fame and glory - as well as cash and a spot on next year’s Main Stage lineup.
Past winners of the RockyGrass band contest include Steep Canyon Rangers, Chatham County Line, Town Mountain, Blue Canyon Boys, Front Country, The Railsplitters, RapidGrass, The Wooks, Meadow Mountain, Never Come Down and The Wildmans.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 RockyGrass band contest: The Fretliners from Lyons, CO! The Fretliners pulled a double win at RockyGrass and Telluride. They’ll be performing a full main stage set at the 52th Annual RockyGrass (July 26-28, 2024).
A hearty congratulations to all 3 of the finalists who competed on the main stage at the 2023 RockyGrass Festival:
The Band Contest will be open for entries, January 2024 so check back soon!
$750, strings and main stage performance at the 2023 RockyGrass
$500 & strings
$300 & strings
- Prizes awarded immediately following final rounds
- Please note: Contestants are required to use just a single, omni directional stage microphone for the preliminary and final rounds of the band contest. No monitors are provided. Bass players may plug in if they wish.
- No more than (12) bands will be registered for the band contest.
- The band contest is held inside the festival grounds, so all band members must have tickets for the festival for the days of the contest (Saturday for the preliminary round, Sunday for the finals).
- Bands may consist of 3-6 members. The music should be “Bluegrass,” “Old Time,” “Western Swing,” or “New Acoustic/Newgrass.”
- Recommended time limit: (3) minutes per song. The judges mark you down if a selection significantly exceeds (3) minutes.
- No electric instruments or pickups allowed, with exception of electric bass and steel guitar (or lap steel). Only one mic will be provided for each band.
- Each band plays (3) songs in the preliminaries and (3) songs in the finals. The (3) band selections must be the following types:
- A slow vocal song
- An instrumental song
- A fast vocal song (Tempos are relative)
- Songs played in the preliminary round are not allowed to be repeated in the finals.
- Bands entering the contest may have no common members.
- No drum sets or fixed/mounted percussion allowed. (Musicians should be able to stand and move with their instruments. Washboards, shakers, and tambourines are examples of accepted percussion.)
- Band winners in previous years are not eligible to enter the Band competitions.
- The contestant order will be randomly assigned at the contest site prior to the start of the competition.
- Scores are not cumulative from the prelims to the finals. The finals are a new contest; everyone starts on a fresh and equal footing.
- Prizes are awarded directly after the final round! Stay nearby if you want to reap the rewards you richly deserve.
- Contestants should not talk to the judges or the clerks concerning their scores during or after the contest. The decision of the judges is final. Completed judging forms are not available to the contestants or the public. If you have a formal protest, bring it to the head clerk first. They will forward it to the right person.
- 30% Material Selection (taste, difficulty, authenticity/originality…)
- 30% Instrumental Performance (includes ability of soloists and overall instrumental blend)
- 30% Vocal Performance (lead and harmony)
- 10% Stage Presence