Telluride Troubadour Contest
The Telluride Troubadour Competition is a nationally recognized songwriter competition open to anyone who writes and performs original music and who is not currently signed to a major recording or publishing deal.
Contestants are judged on the quality of the song’s composition, vocal delivery, and the overall performance. Finalists are awarded cash and prizes, as well as critical acclaim, well-deserved recognition, and a chance to perform on the festival main stage!
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to postpone the Troubadour contest this year. We look forward to bringing it back in full force for the 50th annual Bluegrass in 2023.
Thank you for your patience and dedication. We look forward to reviewing your submissions beginning in July.
We will accept entries for the 2023 Troubadour Contest beginning July 1st, 2022. The entrance fee is $10 per song. Contestants may submit up to two original songs. We will post submission details later on.
Important submission dates:
- April 22nd, 2023: All submissions must be postmarked on or before.
- May 4th, 2023: We will notify all finalists and alternates by this date. Watch for the public posting of Troubadour finalists around this time.
- No co-writes. Songwriting entries must be entirely written by the entering songwriter.
- No backup musicians allowed. This is a solo competition.
- We encourage songwriters to submit new / different songs for the Telluride Troubadour and Folks Showcase contests.
- Contestants cannot be signed to a third-party record label or publishing deal. This competition is meant for emerging and independent performing songwriters.
- All entries must be submitted by April 22, 2022 to be eligible.
- Finalists will play 2 original songs in the preliminary round and the top five finalists will play 2 original songs in the final round.
- Finalists may not repeat songs from preliminaries in the finals.
- Recommended time limit: 5 minutes per song. Points will be deducted for significantly exceeding this limit.
- Acoustic instruments with pickups are permitted as well as EQ devices but no effects.
- Instruments allowed are those that can be carried out to the mics with the performer. A keyboard will be provided if necessary.
- Ten finalists will be chosen for the preliminary round in Telluride. Notification will take place by May 4th, 2022.
- Each finalist will receive the following:
- a complimentary four-day pass to the 50th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 15-18th, 2023) that includes camping for one.
- an “in the round” performance slot in Elks park
- a live radio spot
- and a chance to perform a “tweener” song on the main stage during the festival
We’re excited to announce the 10 finalists who will perform throughout the 49th Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 16-19). Once again we were inspired by the nearly 300 entries we received from around the world. These 10 finalists will perform in contest rounds on Telluride’s Elks Park stage, in Troubadour-In-The-Round sets at Elks Park throughout the festival, during the festival broadcast, and for short ‘tweener sets on the festival main stage.
- Clara Baker (Portland, OR)
- Cecilia Castleman (Nashville, TN)
- Wes Collins (Chapel Hill, NC)
- Jeff Cramer (Denver, CO)
- Connor Garvey (Portland, ME)
- Billy Huston (Boulder, CO)
- Tim Ostdiek (Longmont, CO)
- Emily Scott Robinson (Greensboro, NC)
- Alexa Wildish (Boulder, CO)
- Ira Wolf (Nashville, TN)
- [First Alternate] Liv Greene (Boston, MA)
- [Second Alternate] Kimberly Townsend (New York, NY)
Further your Festivarian education by enjoying this Soundcloud stream of songs from each of this year’s 10 finalists…
- John Bunzli (Loveland, CO)
- Jessica Carson (Longmont, CO)
- Lyle DeVitry (Lancaster, PA)
- Patrick Dwyer (Los Angeles, CA)
- Georgia English (Nashville, TN)
- Kala Farnham (Connecticut)
- Michelle Held (Detroit, MI)
- Bob Hillman (San Francisco, CA)
- Tracy Manuel (Winters, CA)
- Siobhan O’Brien (Alexandria, VA)
- Harper Powell (Salida, CO)
- Liz Ryder (San Francisco, CA)
- Shanna In a Dress (Boulder, CO)
- Alicia Viani (Bend, OR )
The Telluride Troubadour Competition has been held in conjunction with the Telluride Bluegrass Festival since 1991. Previous winners include: Larry Good (1991), Cosy Sheridan (1992), Dan Sheridan (1993), Catie Curtis (1994), LJ Booth (1995), Michael Lille (1996), Jonathan Kingham (1997), Eugene Ruffolo (1998), Libby Kirkpatrick (1999), Mary Coppin (2000), Kris Delmhorst (2001), Deb Talan (2002), Rachel Davis (2003), Brian Joseph (2004), Keith Greeninger (2005), Nels Andrews (2006), Gregory Alan Isakov (2007), Nathan Moore (2008), Mitch Barrett (2009), Robby Hecht (2010), Matt Harlan (2011), Reed Waddle (2012), Reed Turner (2013), Michael Kirkpatrick (2014), Caitlin Canty (2015), Anna Tivel (2016), Clint Alphin (2017), Garrett Owen (2018), and 2019 winner Emily Scott Robinson.