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!
We’re excited to announce the 10 finalists who will perform throughout the 46th Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 20-23). 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 )
- 1st Place: Custom Shanti guitar and $400
- 2nd Place: $500 & Martin Travel Guitar
- 3rd Place: $400 & Martin Travel Guitar
- 4th Place: $300 & Martin Travel Guitar
- 5th Place: $250 & Martin Travel Guitar
- 6th - 10th Place: $150
- Each finalist also receives: an “in the round” workshop spot in Elks Park, a tweener main stage spot over the festival weekend, guitar strings courtesy of D’Addario, and a pair of sandals courtesy of KEEN Footwear.
- Sorry, no co-writes. Songwriting entries must be entirely written by the entering songwriter.
- 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 CDs must be postmarked or submitted by April 5, 2019 to be eligible.
- Ten finalists will be chosen for the preliminary round in Telluride. Notification will take place by April 26, 2019.
- Each finalist will receive the following:
- a complimentary four-day pass to the 46th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 20-23) that includes camping for one
- an “in the round” performance slot in Elks park
- a live radio spot
- a performance coaching session
- and a chance to perform a “tweener” song on the main stage during the festival.
- 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.
- No backup musicians allowed. This is a solo competition.
- Preliminary Round.
Noon, Thursday, June 20. Elks Park Stage (across from the Sheridan Opera House on Main Street).
- Final Round.
2:45pm, Friday, June 21. Elks Park Stage.
- The Troubadour winner performs a fifteen-minute set at 6:15pm on Saturday evening, June 22 on the Festival Main Stage in front of 10,000 joyous Festivarians from all over the world. Award is presented on stage immediately prior to performance.
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), and 2018 winner Garrett Owen.