Upcoming DCBU Events
SAVE THE DATE! The 7th DC Bluegrass Festival will be held March 9 & 10, 2018, at the Tysons Sheraton Hotel. Early Bird tickets are on sale through November 5! Visit dcbluegrassfest.org to get the best deals on two-day tickets and hotel rooms.
We’re pleased to announce that the lineup will include the Tim O’Brien Band, the Gibson Brothers, the Becky Buller Band, the Molly Tuttle Band, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, Mile Twelve, and Circa Blue. Updates on the schedule, workshops, and the Mid-Atlantic Bluegrass Band Competition coming soon!
The Hazel Dickens Song Contest celebrates the life and muse of one of bluegrass music’s most beloved songwriters. From hardscrabble beginnings in West Virginia coal country in 1935, Hazel moved to Baltimore, MD as a young woman to find factory work and quickly connected with local musicians. She started performing throughout the Baltimore/Washington region and was soon recognized for her singular mountain singing style and her gift with a lyric.
Hazel wrote of coal miners, unionization, hard times, feminism and much more. She recorded several albums with duo partner Alice Gerrard in the 1960s and 1970s and went on to release four records as a solo artist. Among her best known songs are Won’t You Come and Sing for Me, West Virginia My Home, Few Old Memories, and Mama’s Hand. Hazel was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship in 2001 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her life came to a close in 2011 following complications from pneumonia.
In honor of her legacy as a groundbreaking songwriter, the contest seeks to bring attention to the finest in original bluegrass songwriting. Top prize $500 and a performance at the 2018 DC Bluegrass Festival, 2nd prize $250, 3rd prize $100. Entries must be received by January 5, 2018. For complete information, visit http://dcbu.org/hazel-dickens-song-contest/.
The 2017 Mike Auldridge Instrumental Composition Contest is no longer accepting entries. The winners will be announced on December 1, 2017; please check back then!
The DC Bluegrass Union has launched the Mike Auldridge Instrumental Contest to honor the life and musicianship of one of America’s greatest players. The competition will spotlight the best original compositions from bluegrass, old-time and related musicians around the world.
Auldridge’s effortlessly tasteful Dobro guitar work borrowed from Josh Graves, but added swing, blues and horn influences to arrive at a uniquely new sound. By the time Mike co-founded the Seldom Scene in 1971, his musical touch was unmistakable – and over the next 40 years Auldridge became a pillar of Washington bluegrass history. He received the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship Award in 2012, the last year of his life.
DCBU will accept instrumental entries between August 1 and October 15, 2017. Please find more information on rules and submission guidelines at http://dcbu.org/mike-auldridge-contest/. First, second, and third-place winners will be announced December 1, 2017. The first-place winner receives $500 and the opportunity to perform his or her tune on the main stage at the 2018 DC Bluegrass Festival in Vienna, VA.
“We couldn’t think of a better way to remember Mike than by celebrating original instrumental music in his name,” said Randy Barrett, president of the DC Bluegrass Union. “We encourage players of all string instruments to write a new tune or dust off an older composition and take part in the contest.”
Proceeds from the Mike Auldridge Instrumental Contest help support the nonprofit DC Bluegrass Union in its mission to promote bluegrass music in the greater Washington, DC area through performance and education.
As of June 20, 2017, Bluegrass Country ceased broadcasting on 105.5FM in the DC area. The station can still be heard on 88.5FM HD channel 2 and streaming online at www.bluegrasscountry.org. The digital signal is both better quality and reaches a much larger broadcast area. Find out more about how to listen here.
What is the DC Bluegrass Union?
The DC Bluegrass Union is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 non-profit organization serving Washington, DC and surrounding areas in much of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. It is an area historically rich in bluegrass music’s development, and we strive to help inform, educate, connect and broaden its very active community of performers, fans, venues and promoters. Resources for all of them are found on this website. Our other activities include open jams, performances, and our annual DC Bluegrass Festival. Learn more on this website, on Facebook, and on Twitter — and welcome!