top of page
new folk logo 2016.png

The Kerrville Folk Festival Foundation

2023 Grassy Hill New Folk

Competition for Emerging Songwriters

grassy hill banner color print.png

Kerrville's 2023 Grassy Hill New Folk Competition

for Emerging Songwriters is accepting entries

January 16, 2023  -  March 16, 2023.

Check back here for more entry details as they become available.

The guidelines for the 2022 competition are still available below for convenience, however the 2023 guidelines may include important updates, so make sure to read the 2023 guidelines carefully after they are published.  

   In keeping with the KFF Foundation mission of promoting public appreciation and support for songwriters, the Grassy Hill New Folk Songwriting Competition has been an annual highlight of Kerrville Folk Festivals since 1973.  Some former New Folk Finalists who have gone on to achieve name recognition in the music industry include Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, John Gorka, David Wilcox, James McMurtry, Tish Hinojosa, Hal Ketchum, Cosy Sheridan, Slaid Cleaves, Mark Elliott, Johnsmith, Ellis Paul, Anne Feeney, Buddy Mondlock, Pierce Pettis, Jonathan Byrd, Anais Mitchell and many more. 

2022 New Folk Winners


In Order From Left to Right

Javier Jara (Austin, TX); Kyle Rasche (Alto, MI); Jean Rohe (Brooklyn, NY); 

Sadie Gustafson-Zook (Nashville, TN); Calista Garcia (Arlington, VA); R.O. Shapiro (San Diego, CA)



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 2022 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. 

Safety is our highest priority.  Because of the “unknowns” presented by the Coronavirus, we will announce on April 10, 2022, if the contest will be held virtually or in-person during the festival.  If it is held in-person, the 2022 GRASSY HILL NEW FOLK COMPETITION will be held on May 28 and 29, 2022, and the 6 Winners of the Contest will be invited to play the following weekend on Saturday, June 4, 2022.    

Entries to the Grassy Hill New Folk Competition will be accepted from Dec. 1, 2021, through March 13, 2022.

Twenty-four finalists will be announced on or around April 18, 2022.  The 24 finalists will perform the 2 songs they entered for the contest in person on either May 28 or May 29, or in a video format by May 2, 2022. 

Six Winners will be announced on Sunday, May 29th, 2022.

Each Winner receives a $650 cash prize, some nifty KFF souvenirs, two complimentary full festival access passes to the KFF Foundation’s fall festival event for him/herself and a guest.


  1. You are invited to submit two of your original songs in a .mp3 or .mp4 format.  (Entries containing only one song or entries containing more than 2 songs, will be disqualified.)  

  2. You can enter New Folk more than once: two new songs per entry fee.  Note:  You can be chosen as a Finalist only once. Please do not submit a single song more than one time.

  3. You must personally perform the songs on the submitted recordings.

  4. Judging is based on the originality, lyrics, melody, harmonic structure along with other song-craft elements.  Any recording method, from cell phone to professional studio, are acceptable.   Helpful tip:  If the lyrics are difficult to hear you are short-changing yourself. 

  5. You may submit an entry as a solo performer or as a duo.

  6. You retain all rights to the songs submitted.

  7. Please do not enter this songwriting competition if you are a previous New Folk Winner.

  8. Your entry will be withdrawn if you are booked as a 2022 Kerrville Folk Festival performer, or you are billed to play with a 2022 Kerrville Folk Festival performer.

  9. The submission platform will close at midnight on Sunday, March 13, 2022.

  10. As a finalist, you may choose to perform solo or invite one person to join you in your performance submission.  If an entry is submitted as a duo and the duo is selected as a Finalist, both are required to perform and may not have a third performer join you. (No more than 2 people may perform in a New Folk performance.)



On our website:, go to the New Folk page, click on the “Submit Entry” button; OR go to  There is a form you must complete and a submission fee that must be paid before you can upload your song files.

The entry fee is $40.00 (plus a $2 processing fee).

Helpful tip:  Please make note of the two songs you submit.  If you submit multiple entries, please make note of the pair of songs submitted in each of your entries.

If you have additional questions, please send via email to:

Notification of the 24 New Folk Finalists will be made to all contestants via email on April 18, 2022.

If you have questions, contact us at (830) 257-3600 or email 

bottom of page