2016 Music Contests

2014 Troubadour Finalists (photo Benko Photographics)
2014 Troubadour Finalists & Luthier Michael Hornick
(photo Benko Photographics)

We'll begin accepting entries in the 2016 Telluride Band and Troubadour contests on Friday, December 4 at 9am MST. Band contest entries are accepted phone-only at 800-624-2422.

Once again, songwriters and bands from around the country will take part in the nationally recognized Telluride Troubadour and band competitions, vying for beautiful instruments, cash prizes and well deserved recognition.

Be inspired by these fine songwriters and great string bands on Thursday and Friday at Elks Park (free workshop stage in downtown Telluride). Then enjoy the finalists on the Festival main stage on Saturday morning (band contest) and Saturday evening (Troubadour winner).

Congratulations to the 2015 Contest Winners: Caitlin Canty and The Lil' Smokies!

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!

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), and 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), and Caitlin Canty (2015).

2016 Troubadour Schedule

2016 Rules and Guidelines

Michael Hornick of Shanti Guitars with Troubadour Reed Waddle (photo Benko Photographics)
Michael Hornick of Shanti Guitars with Troubadour Reed Waddle
(photo Benko Photographics)

2016 Troubadour Prizes

Entering the 2016 Troubadour Contest


2016 Telluride Band Contest 

The Telluride Band Contest is a nationally-recognized bluegrass contest. Finalists are awarded cash and prizes, as well as critical acclaim, well-deserved recognition, and a spot on the 2017 lineup to perform on the festival main stage.

Past winners include the Dixie Chicks, Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband, the Pagosa Hot Strings, The Badly Bent, Greensky Bluegrass, Spring Creek, Blue Canyon Boys, The Hillbenders, Nora Jane Struthers & the Bootleggers, Run Boy Run, Front Country, Trout Steak Revival, and 2015 winners The Lil' Smokies.

2016 Contest Registration

2016 Band Competition Schedule

2016 Telluride Band Competition Prizes

Telluride Band Competition Rules

Bands Score in These Categories

2007 Troubadour Winner  Gregory Alan Isakov
2007 Troubadour Winner
Gregory Alan Isakov

Tips from the Telluride Band Contest Judges

2015 Contest Finalists

2015 Band Contest Winners

Congrats to this year's band contest winners The Lil' Smokies who are now the first band officially booked to play at the 2016 Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Saturday morning was another thrilling contest finals on the main stage. Congrats to the top 4 finalists:

  1. The Lil' Smokies (Missoula, MT)
  2. The Lonesome Days (Denver, CO
  3. Running Out Of Road (Durango, CO)
  4. Fireside Collective (Asheville, NC)

2015 Troubadour Winners

Wow, what an inspiring group of songwriters who joined us in Telluride for this year's Troubadour contest. Congrats to the top 5 finalists as chosen by our judges in the 2 rounds at Elks Park:

  1. Caitlin Canty (Pittsford, VT)
  2. Hadley Kennary (Nashville, TN)
  3. Maria Brosgol (Albany, NY)
  4. Carter Sampson (Oklahoma, OK)
  5. Rachael Kilgour (Duluth, MN)

Enjoy this playlist of songs from all 10 of the 2015 Telluride Troubadour finalists...