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March 1st, 2017 at 10am (MT)

Acoustic Blues Competition

Win your chance to perform on the Festival Main Stage

The Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition seeks talented musicians who excel in the blues genre and is open to any solo acoustic performer who is not currently signed to a record label or publishing deal.

The top six entries chosen are invited to play at the festival's "Blues for Breakfast," held at Telluride Elks Lodge from 9 a.m. - Noon on Saturday, September 13th.

Competition Submissions

We are currently updating our submissions process. Please check back very shortly for our 2014 submission link.

Competition Prizes

The winner of the Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition will be awarded a custom  acoustic “Dobrato,” guitar valued at $1,200, courtesy of Castle Creek Guitars. They will also be given the opportunity to perform a set on the festival's Main Stage on Saturday evening. The runner-up receives a cash prize and a Godin Guitar provided by sponsor Telluride Music Company.

All six competitors will receive a Telluride Blues & Brews Festival T-Shirt, a 3-Day Festival Pass, and a $25 gift certificate provided by sponsor Telluride Music Company, located at 201 East Colorado Avenue.

Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition Guidelines:

  • Acoustic Blues Competitors will perform two songs (original or blues standard) and will be judged on the quality of their overall live performance, including instrument, vocals, and presentation. During the weekend of the festival, each finalist will be required perform, in person, three songs at Telluride Elk's Lodge on Saturday, September 13, 2014, at 9 a.m.
  • Two (2) of the songs must be either original blues or blues standards (your choice), and the third (3rd) song will be a blues standard, to be determined by the judges. In recent years, they have chosen standards such as; Sweet Home Chicago, Thrill is Gone, Crossroads, and Born Under a Bad Sign.
  • Chosen finalists will be notified and advised of the selected blues standard for 2014. You will have 2-3 weeks to learn the required song.
  • Recommended time limit for each song is 5 minutes
  • Acoustic guitars or instruments with pickups ARE permitted, only for amplification.
  • No loop machines allowed.
  • No electric guitars allowed. If you need electricity beyond microphones and amplification for the crowd, you are not an acoustic act.
  • No back-up musicians allowed.
  • All finalists must be of amateur level, with no recording contracts, publishing contracts, or endorsements.
  • All entries must be received or postmarked by August 15, 2014, accompanied by a $10.00 submission fee.
  • This competition accepts blues guitarists and/or vocalists, and any other acoustic blues instrumentalists.
  • Please DO NOT submit band demos, as the judges do not know who to listen for, or how you will sound as a solo competitor. PLEASE submit clean simple recordings of one person playing 1 or 2 songs, either by CD, tape, or electronically online at .
  • For more information or questions, please email the Competition Director- Valerie James, at

If chosen as a finalist, YOU WILL:

  • Receive One (1) three-day admission pass to the festival to be picked up at will-call under your name. Sorry, no 'significant other' discounts or extra tickets are given.
  • Receive One (1) $25 gift certificate to the Telluride Music Company.
  • Find your own accommodations in Telluride and make travel arrangements to be at the competition on Saturday, at 9 a.m. Please check the website for a list of lodging and camping facilities.
  • Have a great time in Telluride at the Blues & Brews Festival!

Tips from the Judges:

  • Music competitions are a test of nerve as much as skill. Your ability to perform elegantly under pressure goes with the territory.
  • Perform material of the same level as your playing ability. It's better to play something easier in a tasteful and clean manner with a good feel and not get “way over your head.” Judges may mark you down for this.
  • Judges may confer to ensure fairness and consistency in the rating process.
  • The contestant order will be randomly assigned at the contest site prior to the start of the competition.
  • The winner and runner-up will be awarded their prizes on the festival main stage on Saturday. All other prizes will be awarded following the competition.
  • Contestants will be judged on the following categories including but not limited to:
    • Quality of overall Live Performance
    • Quality of overall Vocal and Instrumental Delivery (includes vocal quality, pitch, even tempo, etc…)
    • Interpretive Quality of Assigned Standard Blues song (depth, insight, arrangement, overall feel, etc…)

Thanks to our sponsors

Acoustic Blues Competition Photos

Telluride Acoustic Blues Comp 2006 Acoustic Blues Winner by Barry Brecheisen Gibson Acoustic Guitar Winner Telluride Acoustic Blues Comp 2006 Telluride Acoustic Blues Comp Winner Acoustic Blues Winner by Barry Brecheisen 09-15-12_Acoustic_Blues_Winner_0091 Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition