John Hartford Memorial Fest Band Contest and Songwriters Challenge Entries Accepted!

imageHow can your band  join the lineup at “The Most Laid Back Festival in America”?   How can you get your John Hartford Inspired Original Song entered into the Songwriter’s Contest?

Enter the JHMF  band contest or the JHMF Songwriter’s Contest ….or both. Registration for the inaugural John Hartford Memorial Band Contest is now open.

Registration  for the band contest ends Tuesday, February 14th at midnight.

Songwriters may have an even smaller window of opportunity.  The deadline for song entries is Friday, midnight, April 1st, 2017, or whenever they reach 30 complete entries, whichever comes first.

Twelve bands will compete for cash prizes totaling $2,000 and an opportunity for a Hartford Stage slot in 2018.


  • 1st Place Prize: $600, a Main stage slot on the 2018 John Hartford Memorial Festival lineup, and more
  • 2nd Place: $300
  • 3rd Place: $200
  • 4th Place: $100


  • 1st place wins  $100.00, and more including a chance to return the following year to perform the winning song on the main stage
  • 2nd place wins $50.00 and more 
  • 3rd place wins  $25.00 and more .

The twelve band final contestants will be notified via email by Tuesday February 21st. 

Songwriting entrants will be prejudged and notified by May 1st, 2017.

You MUST read ALL the rules & pay a non-refundable $20 registration fee (using PayPal) to enter the Band Contest.

Bands selected to compete at JHMF7 will be required to pay a $100 entry fee to secure their spot in the contest. This fee must be paid February 28.

Bands will be judged on;

  • Difficulty: How technically difficult is the material?
  • Taste: How closely would you relate this material to John Hartford’s Music?
  • Authenticity: Whether it be Old Time, Bluegrass, Newgrass, Texas Swing, Whatever,... How authentic to your genre is your music?
  • Originality: John Hartford was an innovator and a father of newgrass. Where have you taken your material? How original is it?

For complete Band Contest Rules and Info .

For complete Songwriter’s Challenge Rules, .

The John Hartford Memorial Festival happens this year, May 31st through June 3rd in Bean Blossom, IN.

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