Online submissions are being sought through May 31 for the 2017 FreshGrass Awards and a new No Depression Singer-Songwriter Award. Unsigned bluegrass bands, banjo pickers, fiddlers and roots music-oriented singer-songwriters are invited to compete for more than $25,000 in cash prizes, instruments, recording sessions at Compass Records, and a spot on the main stage during FreshGrass 2018. Finalists will perform for a panel of music industry judges during this year’s festival, which is set for Sept. 15-17 on the grounds of MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts.

Launched in 2013, The FreshGrass Awards are designed to celebrate and reward emerging artists who offer a fresh take on the tradition of bluegrass and roots music. A panel of five judges, led by banjoist Alison Brown, will select five finalists in each category. Finalists will perform one standard or traditional tune and one original composition. A winner and runner-up in each category will be chosen on the basis of compositional originality, instrumental and vocal skills, stage presence and performance, and proficiency in the tradition.

The inaugural No Depression Singer-Songwriter Award recognizes and rewards up-and-coming roots music singer-songwriters from the U.S. and beyond. After a preliminary committee culls five finalists from among all those submitting applications, a panel comprised of No Depression editors and artist judges will select a winner and runner-up following live performances during the festival. Artists, who must perform original material and do so solo, will be evaluated based on the merits of their lyrics, music, instrumentation, and overall performance.

There is no fee to enter these awards competitions. Online submission forms, rules, and more information may be found at

Among the artists slated to perform during the family-friendly FreshGrass Festival 2017 are Brandi Carlile, Railroad Earth, The Del McCoury Band with special guest David Grisman, Del & Dawg, The Wood Brothers, Bill Frisell: Harmony, Alison Brown, Son Little, The Brothers Comatose, Carrie Rodriguez, Darol Anger’s Republic Strings, Hackensaw Boys, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, The Suitcase Junket, Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally Band, and last year’s FreshGrass Awards winners: The Last Revel, Victor Furtado, Julian Pinelli, and The Page Turners.