2018 contest registration opens December 5

2018 Music Competitions

Contest finals on the main stage (photo Benko Photographics)
Contest finals on the main stage
(photo Benko Photographics)

Since the first Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Festival in 1973, the band and instrument contests have been a central part of the festival experience. Past instrument finalists have included Mark O'Connor (1974) and Tim O'Brien (1975), as well as recent band winners Steep Canyon Rangers (2001), Front Country (2012), The Railsplitters (2013), and Meadow Mountain (2017).

Cheer on the next generation of musicians in the Wildflower Pavilion and on the main stage as they vie for beautiful instruments, cash prizes, well-deserved recognition, and coveted spots on the main stage.

Instrument Contests

2017 Instrument Contest Winners
2017 Instrument Contest Winners

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.

2018 Instrument Contest Registration

Instrument Contest Prizes

In addition, all 3 finalists on each instrument will also receive a commemorative RockyGrass Instrument Contest award ribbon.

2018 Contest Schedule

The preliminary round is held on Friday, July 27 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 28. Here are the schedules for each instrument:

RockyGrass Instrument Contest Rules

Pickers & Fiddlers Score in the Following Categories

2018 RockyGrass Band Competition

2017 band winners Meadow Mountain (photo Benko Photographics)
2017 band winners Meadow Mountain
(photo Benko Photographics)

Bands perform around a single microphone in the Wildflower Pavilion on Saturday (preliminary round) and Sunday (final round) in the Wildflower Pavilion. Awards include an invitation to play a set at the 2018 Festival, cash prizes, and more. 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, and 2017 winners Meadow Mountain.

2018 Band Contest Registration

Band Competition Prizes

2018 Band Competition Schedule

2018 Band Competition Rules

Bands Score in These Categories

2017 Contest Winners

2017 Instrument Contest Winners

With more than 50 instrument contestants from around the world, this year's instrument contest showcased another dazzling display of virtuosity in the Wildflower Pavilion and the finals on the main stage. Congrats to the winners on all 5 instruments:

Banjo
Flatpick Guitar
Mandolin
Fiddle
Dobro

2017 Band Finalists

2015 Band Contest Finalists (photo Benko Photographics)
2015 Band Contest Finalists
(photo Benko Photographics)

Congratulations to the 2017 RockyGrass band contest winners Meadow Mountain from Denver, CO! They'll be performing a full main stage set at the 46th Annual RockyGrass (July 27-29, 2018).

Congratulations to all 3 of the top finalists in the 2017 RockyGrass band contest:

  1. Meadow Mountain (Denver, CO)
  2. Circus No. 9 (Nashville, TN)
  3. Ginny Mules (Denver, CO)