Grassy Hill New Folk Competition
For Emerging Songwriters
Accepting entries January 16, 2023 - March 16, 2023.
Entries are welcome from a diverse array of subgenres including, but not limited to Appalachian, Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Country, Global Roots, Gospel, Hip-Hop, Old-Time, Zydeco, or various fusions as long as the songs are original compositions of the artist making the submission.
The Kerrville Folk Festival Foundation and the Community who attends our Festivals value diversity, equity, and inclusion. We strive for gender parity and actively welcome participation from individuals of all cultures, races and religions.
Twenty-four songwriters will be selected as Finalists. From those twenty-four finalists, six will be selected as the 2023 Winners. Finalists and one guest will receive admission to all 18 days of the festival and up to 10 finalists will receive a 50% discount to the Songwriters School offered during the festival.
The 2023 GRASSY HILL NEW FOLK COMPETITION will be held on May 27 and 28, 2023, and the 6 Winners of the Contest will be invited to play the following weekend on Saturday, June 3, 2023.
Entries to the Grassy Hill New Folk Competition will be accepted from Jan. 16, 2023, through March 16, 2023.
Twenty-four finalists will be announced on or around April 18, 2023. The 24 finalists will perform the 2 songs they entered for the contest, at the festival, in-person, on either May 27 or May 28.
Six Winners will be announced during the evening concerts on Sunday, May 28th, 2023.
Each Winner receives a $750 cash prize, a mentoring session, some nifty KFF souvenirs, two complimentary full festival access passes to the KFF Foundation’s fall festival event for him/herself and a guest.
Entries will be accepted January 16 through midnight March 16, 2023;
Submit .mp3 audio recordings (no video) of two of your original songs. You must perform each song yourself. On the recording, do not say your name, the song’s title, or any other intro. Any method of recording or production level is acceptable.
Do not submit lyric sheets.
Sing your lyric clearly – songs are judged by ear.
You may enter New Folk more than once: submit two songs with each entry fee. Don’t enter a given song more than once per year. NOTE: You can be a Finalist only once per year.
We invite ALL GENRES OF MUSIC including instrumentals, a cappella, and lyric in any language. Co-written songs are welcome. Your songs will be judged on originality, lyric, melody, performance and other songcraft elements.
Exemptions: Your entry will be withdrawn if you are a previous New Folk Winner, or if you are booked as a 2023 Kerrville Folk Festival performer, or you are billed to play with a Festival performer. From May 25 - May 28, 2023, Finalists may not appear on a Festival stage except at the Finalist shows May 27 and 28.
You retain all rights to your songs, subject to the provision for live streaming below.
The 24 New Folk Finalists will be announced on or about April 18. Finalists will be required to perform their two songs live at the Festival on May 27 or 28, 2023, and allow the Festival to live-stream that performance. (Contestants may also request a video clip of their performance for their own use.)
Solo artists may perform solo or with one additional person. Duos must perform together with no additional people.
If you are selected as one of the 6 Winners, you will be invited to perform a 20-minute set of your original songs at the Festival on June 3. The same solo/duo performance rule applies.
Each Finalist act receives two 18-day tickets to the 2023 Kerrville Folk Festival, half-price entry to the Songwriter School, discount for SWRFA, and KFF souvenirs. In addition, each winning act receives a $750 cash prize, two all-access passes to the KFF Foundation’s 2023 fall festival event, an offer to play the 2024 spring or fall festival, a mentorship session with a professional songwriter, and an invitation to a 2023 Grassy Hill New Folk House Concert Tour in Texas.
If you have reviewed the FAQ below and still need additional information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have several renditions of my songs. Which should I enter?
The Festival recognizes that artists may have different renditions of their songs, including but not limited to album cuts, band recordings, solo recordings, or live recordings. While you can submit any recording or rendition you want, the screeners’ strong preference is a relatively simple recording that represents how the song would be performed in the live New Folk competition. If you do not have a simple rendition, you might think about creating one to submit. Your recorded submission should not contain any mention of your name, the song title, or a spoken introduction. The screeners are not provided with lyric sheets so please sing your lyrics clear and understandable.
I have songs in a language other than English? Can I submit them?
Yes. In fact, Javier Jara, a 2022 New Folk Winner, sung both songs he submitted in Spanish. If your song is not in English and you are selected as a Finalist, you may be asked to provide lyric sheets with both the original lyrics and an English translation of the lyrics.
I want to submit a song that was written with a co-writer. Is that allowed?
Yes, co-writes are allowed. If you are chosen as a Finalist, you will be required to sign a Recording Release and/or a Live Stream Release where you will represent and warrant that you have permission from your co-writers to perform and record the song. If you are selected as a Finalist, your co-writer does not have to appear with you during your live performance at the contest. The person who submits the song will be the one eligible to receive any potential prize distribution for a co-written song.
I am under 18 years of age. Can I still enter?
Yes, with parental permission. If you are selected as a Finalist, you will be asked to provide written permission from your parent or guardian in order to attend.
I seem to remember a restriction on the length of the songs I can submit but I don’t see it in the rules.
The rules in previous years did limit the length of time for the recorded songs. But now your songs can be as short or as long as you like.
I also remember that songs submitted had to be written in the past 18 months, does that still apply?
That rule has also been eliminated. You may submit any song you want regardless of when you wrote it.
Can I submit a .wav file?
No. The only acceptable digital format for submissions is .mp3 file.
I’m a procrastinator. What is the latest I can submit an entry?
The deadline for completed submissions is 12:00 midnight CST on March 16, 2023. If your entry has not been fully completed by that time, your submission will be disqualified. In an abundance of caution, we recommend you do not leave the uploading process until the last minute because if that upload process is not completed by midnight, your entry will not be considered.
Are there any “unwritten rules” that I should know about?
No. The written rules as stated on the website are the only rules in effect.
Can I submit the same song or songs that I submitted last year?
Yes, you can submit the same song or songs you submitted in previous years if you want to do so.
What are the screeners looking for?
The screeners are looking for outstanding songwriting. As noted elsewhere, the screeners prefer the submissions to be as simple and clearly heard as possible.
The rules say I can’t submit the same song in two different entries. Why is this?
This is to streamline the screening process. A repeat song throws the rhythm of the screening process into disarray as the screeners backtrack to determine if a particular song is a repeat. With so many entries, it simply isn’t practical to evaluate the same song twice.
I got an error message when I attempted to submit. What went wrong?
It is possible that you attempted to upload a file in a format other than .mp3 or it is possible that you attempted to submit a song you previously submitted for this year’s competition. Another possibility is that you attempted to submit less than 2 songs. You should correct these issues and try again. Please note that the platform will not allow you to upload more than 2 songs with each entry. If you continue to have problems, please contact the Festival at either (830) 257-3600 or email: email@example.com.
What is the screening process to determine the Finalists?
There are two separate screening groups (sometimes also referred to as “listeners”) . First-round screeners narrow down all entries received to approximately 100 to 120 and second-round listeners narrow that list down to the group that become Finalists. Last year there were 4 first-round screeners and 8 second-round listeners. Second-round listeners do not have access to the scores of the first-round screeners.
Entries are all assigned an entry number. Screeners do not have access to the names of the entrants or the song titles and do a “blind” listen. For this reason, the screeners request that the recording you submit does not include your name, title of the song or an introduction.
UPDATE: Since this FAQ was posted, there was a minor adjustment to the screening process. The screeners now see the song title during screening. For this reason, we ask that the name of the song (but not your name) be included in the title of the uploaded .mp3 file. However, if you inadvertently include your name in the name of the .mp3 file, it will be stripped out. If you completed your entry prior to the date of this update (1/25/23), rest assured we have updated your entry with the appropriate song title and you need not take any further action on your completed entry unless we reach out to you directly.
Will I get feedback on my entry?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide feedback on your songs due to the sheer volume of entries. Additionally, the Festival maintains strict confidentiality about the details of the actual screening, listening and scoring. On occasion, a screener or listener wants to reach out to specific songwriter. If that is the case, we will facilitate that introduction.
How are Finalists notified?
Finalists will be notified via email sent to the address you provide with your entry. You will then have a few days to decide whether you will accept or decline the offer to attend the Festival and perform in New Folk. The complete list of Finalists will be announced around April 18, 2023 and the Festival respectfully requests that you do not announce your selection as a Finalist until the Festival announces it around April 18, 2023.
If I am chosen as a Finalist, what perks do I get?
If you are chosen as a Finalist, in addition to an opportunity to perform your two submitted songs at the Festival, you will receive a VIP 18-day pass to the Kerrville Folk Festival for you and a guest. You will be permitted to eat at Staff Kitchen free of charge. You will receive a souvenir cup and a limited supply of drink tickets. You may participate in the Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriting Workshop at a 50% discount. You will be offered an opportunity to camp at the Festival free of charge and, upon request, will be provided a loaner tent, sleeping bag and pillow at the New Folk Camp. The Festival offers free transportation to and from the San Antonio airport free of charge to Finalists. Additionally, there are a limited number of complimentary registrations available to New Folk Finalists for the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance conference.
What perks do I get as a New Folk Winner?
In addition to the Finalist perks, listed above, Winners receive a $750 cash prize, two complimentary full festival access passes to the KFF Foundation’s fall festival event for him/herself and a guest, a performance slot for the 2024 spring or fall festival, a mentorship session with a professional songwriter. New Folk Winners also are invited to participate in a week long New Folk house concert tour in Texas.
I have a friend performing at the Festival who has asked me to appear on stage with him. Is that a problem?
You may not appear as a billed or non-billed performer on any Kerrville Folk Festival stage prior to your appearance in the competition.
The rules say I can take 1 additional performer on stage with me for the competition. Are there any restrictions on who I can have on-stage?
You can have anyone you want to appear on stage with you.
If I am selected as a Finalist, do I have to perform the two songs I submitted?
Yes. If you perform songs other than what you submitted, you will be disqualified. If you are selected as a Finalist, you will be notified what the two songs you submitted are to be performed.
We submitted as a duo. If we are selected as Finalists, do we have to perform as a duo?
Yes, if you have submitted as a duo, you both must appear and you are not permitted to bring any additional musicians on-stage to perform with your duo.
I still have questions. Who do I ask?
The easiest way to get your questions answered is to email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.