The 2020 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Competition for Emerging Songwriters will start accepting entries December 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020. Maximum of 800 entries accepted. On December 1, 2019 the online platform will be active and accessible through this page.

Start writing!! 

2019 Grassy Hill New Folk Winners!

Aaron Smith (Harrison, AR)

Daniel Neihoff  (Paducah, KY)

Lisa Bastoni (Northampton, MA)

Scott Mulvahill (Nashville, TN)

Liv Greene (Washington DC)

D.B. Reilly (New York, NY)

2019 New Folk Announcement


Congratulations to the following 32 Finalists of the 2019 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Contest for Emerging Songwriters. These songwriters were chosen from over 500 wonderful entries received from North America, Australia and Europe. Sixteen of the finalists will perform the two songs they submitted at the New Folk Concert on Saturday, May 25, and the other sixteen on Sunday, May 26. This is the 48th year for New Folk and these concerts are always one of the highlights of the Kerrville Folk Festival. HUGE gratitude for ALL songwriters who entered this year!

2019 Judges : Joe Crookston, Rebecca Loebe, & Ellis Delaney


Threadgill Theater (1 PM - 4 PM)

Sixteen Finalists in order of appearance


Saturday, set 1

Scott Sean White (Terrell, TX)

Lynne Hanson (Ottawa, Ont CAN)

Lisa Bastoni (Northampton, MA)

John Louis (Minneapolis, MN)

Angela Parrish (Los Angeles, CA)

Jordi Baizan (Houston, TX)

Lyndy Butler (Hurricane, UT)

Nancy Beaudette (Shirley, MA)


Saturday, set 2

Aaron Smith (Harrison, AR)

Joanna Howerton & Michael Cross (Austin, TX)

Scott Mulvahill (Nashville, TN)

Liv Greene (Washington DC)

D.B. Reilly (New York, NY)

Katy Vernon (Minneapolis, MN)

Eric Kilburn (Acton, MA)

Cari Ray (Nashville, TN)


Threadgill Theater (1 PM - 4 PM)

Sixteen Finalists in order of appearance


Sunday, set 1

Michael Braunfeld  (Philadelphia, PA)

Avery Hill (Portland, OR)

Amanda Pascali  (Houston, TX)

Claudia Gibson (Wimberley, TX)

Daniel Neihoff  (Paducah, KY)

Rick Frydman  (Lawrence, KS)

Hope Dunbar  (Utica, NE)

Karen Dahlstrom (Brooklyn, NY)


Sunday, Set 2

Beth Snapp  (Kingsport, TN)

Sophie Buskin  (Brooklyn, NY)

James Wyatt Martin  (Austin, TX)

Clementine Volker  (Holland)

Gordon & Christy McLeod  (Garland, TX)

Alice Howe  (Newton, MA)

Kyle Donovan (Boulder, CO)

Sarah Jane Nelson  (Star City, AR)

2019 New Folk Alternates:

Leah Grams Johnson (Nashville, TN), Arlon Bennett (Tappan, NY),

Lisa Nicole Grace (Edmonton, Alb CAN)


In addition to the above Finalists, we invite several New Folk entrants from the area to appear at the BALLAD TREE to sing one of their submitted songs.


Thursday, May 23 (host Bernice & Mariah Lewis): 

DC Bloom (Austin, TX), Robert Mark Abrahams (Austin, TX), Terry Klein (Austin, TX) 


Friday, May 24 (host Mary Bragg):

Keith Rae (Longview, TX), Van Buchanan (Houston, TX), Ray Wyatt (Houston, TX), Randy Palmer (Amarillo, TX), Matt Grigsby (Denton, TX),


The GRASSY HILL KERRVILLE NEW FOLK SONGWRITING COMPETITION will be held during the Annual Kerrville Folk Festival on Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend, May 25th & 26th. Out of a possible 800 entries, thirty-two writer-performers will be invited to share their original songs. All 32 Finalists will receive a subscription to both Texas Music Magazine and M - Music & Musician Magazine, as well as a Kyser Capo and a KFF souvenir wooden shaker from Swan Percussion. In addition, each of the 32 finalists will be awarded a scholarship to the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance Conference held each September in Austin, TX. Six New Folk Award Winners will be selected from the thirty-two finalists and will return on the second Sunday, June 2nd, to perform 20 minutes of their original songs. All of these concerts will be staged at the Threadgill Theater in the Quiet Valley Ranch campgrounds, 9 miles south of the city of Kerrville on TX Hwy 16. The six New Folk Winners receive a $250 Award from the Kerrville Folk Festival Foundation plus up to $400 additional prize money. Winners also receive an 18-Day ticket to the 2020 Kerrville Folk Festival and an Intellitouch Tuner from OnBoard Research. Other prizes may also be added at a later date. Established at the suggestion of Peter Yarrow in 1972, these annual concerts are one of the high points of the Festival and for songwriters from across the world.

Here are the official 2019 guidelines: 

1.     Writer-performers are invited to send the Kerrville Folk Festival ONE entry containing TWO original songs only. Due to performance time limits during New Folk Finalists concerts, the total run time of both songs together should not exceed 8 minutes. Entries containing only one song file or more than two songs will be disqualified.

2.     Submissions must be made under the name(s) of a solo or duo songwriter(s) only. No Band Entries Please (if you are a duo performing under a name like “Indigo Girls” you may include that).  Although a band may be used in the recording of your submitted material, if chosen as a finalist, your performance at the Festival may consist of one or two people only. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER SONGWRITER PLEASE.

3.     ONLY SONGS WRITTEN AFTER JANUARY 1, 2017 MAY BE SUBMITTED. It does not matter if the songs have been published and/or recorded, provided they were completed in their current form after Jan. 1, 2017. They can be a "live", studio, or garage recording. The submitted songs may be performed by the writer(s) alone or by a duo which must include the writer(s). Writer(s) retain all rights to the songs.

4.     Anyone may enter except those billed as stage performers in 2019 or those who have been selected as a New Folk Finalist for both of the past two consecutive years, 2017 & 2018. New Folk Finalists may not accompany or be accompanied by a 2019 billed performer on any Kerrville stage during the 2019 Festival prior to the announcement of the winners during the KFF main stage performance on the first Sunday. Doing so will result in disqualification. 

5.     Entries may be submitted in one of two ways:

a)     On-Line with a credit card – This is the easiest, most direct way to enter.  Go to or follow the link on the Kerrville Folk Festival website New Folk page and fill in the requested information and upload your two separate song files (any common audio format should work).  For the payment of your registration fee, you will be directed to the KFF ticketmob page.  Once the payment is processed you will need to retain the ORDER NUMBER that will be displayed at the bottom of the confirmation page.  This number will also be emailed to you.  You will need to enter this order number on the entry platform to verify your payment.  You will receive an email confirmation once the entry is complete.  This email will contain announcement dates along with a link to re-access your entry account.

b)     Mail-in .mp3 CD - Two songs (separate files) may be submitted on one home-burned CD (mp3 format ONLY) and mailed in with the entry fee and application. Please be sure to use sufficient padding to protect your CD in transit. You may write the entry name and the titles of the songs on the CD, but please, nothing else. If you want your CD to be returned to you, just provide us with a self-addressed mailer (Size “0”, padded envelope) with proper postage. If you provide this, your CD will be mailed on or by April 15th, after the Finalist announcement. Otherwise, your CD will be destroyed and disposed of shortly after April 15th. If you are sending a CD, please use enough postage! Rigid objects require more postage than a regular letter. We will not pay postage due! *PLEASE SEND AS A FIRST CLASS RIGID PACKAGE* THERE IS NO NEED TO SEND EXPRESS OR OVERNIGHT MAIL!!  Don’t waste your money. As long as the postmark is on or before the Feb 28th deadline (and the guidelines are met) your entry will be processed.

6.     Do not send any lead sheets, lyrics, publicity, bios, etc. Your submission package should include an entry form (or all your contact information the entry form requests, written clearly on a piece of paper), a $25 entry fee (check or money order made out to Kerrville Folk Festival) and either a CD or an email that include the two songs in .MP3 ONLY format.

7.     Entry Fees - All entries must be accompanied by a $25 entry fee. You have 2 options for payment:

Option 1 (for Mail-in entries only)- Checks or money orders should be payable to the Kerrville Folk Festival Foundation. If sending by U.S. Mail, send to New Folk, P.O. Box 291466, Kerrville, TX 78029. If using another shipping service (UPS, FedEx, etc.), send to New Folk, 3876 Medina Hwy., Kerrville, TX 78028. 

Option 2 (for either on-line or mail-in entries) – You may pay through our on-line ticketing system (will require an additional $2 ticket system service fee).  If you choose this option, be sure to jot down the Order Confirmation # (provided in your confirmation email subject line) and write this number on your application. Your submission is NOT complete until payment has been received!

8.     Submission Deadline: The first 800 entries POSTMARKED (or submitted on-line) between December 1 and midnight (Pacific Time), February 28th, will be accepted. Entries received after the deadline (or after we get 800) will be refused at the post office and will be returned to you unopened.

9.     Of the 32 finalists chosen, 16 will perform at the festival each day the first Saturday (May 25) and Sunday (May 26) of Festival to provide the judges with an opportunity to select the six Award Winners who will perform at the New Folk Award Winners Concert on the second Sunday, June 2nd. PLEASE DO NOT ENTER IF YOU CANNOT FULFILL ALL THREE CONCERT OPPORTUNITIES! If you have questions about this, contact the KFF Office.

10.   In addition to the 32 finalists, up to 10 regional songwriters may be selected to perform one or both of their songs at the Ballad Tree (3-5 p.m.) on Thursday May 23 or Friday, May 24. Those selected for the Ballad Tree will receive two, single-day passes to the Festival for that day only (which includes overnight camping).

11.   Scholarships for half-off the tuition to the Songwriters School (May 27 - 30) are available for up to ten of the 32 finalists on a first–come basis, and only to those paying the balance of tuition prior to May 9, 2019. Scholarships for other workshops may be available. Contact the Festival Office for details.

12.   Each of the 32 Finalists will receive 2 five-day passes for themselves and one guest* for THE FIRST WEEKEND; those accepting scholarships to one of the workshops will receive additional passes for the days of the class only; the six Award Winners will receive passes through the second Sunday; those selected for the Ballad Tree will receive a single one-day pass. *Unless designated as your “guest”, any other performer appearing with you must purchase a ticket to be admitted.

13.   While finalists are responsible for their own transportation, shuttle service is available between the San Antonio International Airport and Quiet Valley Ranch. Campground access & parking lot fees are included. Parking in the lot is free, parking in the festival campground is $25 per day.

14.   Any rules that are misprinted or printed incomplete in other publications are not official and we take no responsibility for any disqualification resulting from not following the complete instructions listed above.

The Kerrville Folk Festival last for 18 days. If you have questions, contact us at (830) 257-3600 or email  You will be notified via E-MAIL of the finalists on or around April 15th.

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Award winners (left to right) Ben Bedford, Sarah Morris, Rich Krueger, Helene Cronin, John R Butler, and Mac Leaphart

Courtesy of our friends Doug Coppock and Happenstance

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle