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Tuesday, July 29 2014

Bluegrass Bands: Get Judged by Alison Brown

Adapted from two MASS MoCA press releases:

Storied bluegrass and roots performers Chris Pandolfi of The Infamous Stringdusters, Leigh and Eric Gibson of The Gibson Brothers, and longtime FreshGrass co-conspirator Alison Brown will select the best new acts in banjo, duo, and band competitions as the FreshGrass Award jury during the eponymous festival, September 19-21, 2014, at MASS MoCA.

A highlight of FreshGrass, the museum's fall bluegrass and roots music festival, the Award crowns up-and-coming musicians who offer a fresh take on the genre. The proceedings expand this year from one musical category to three---giving unsigned bands, duos, and banjo players a chance to compete for cash prizes totaling $15,000, recording time at Compass Records' studio in Nashville, and a main stage slot at FreshGrass 2015. The competition takes place during the festival, and contest performances are open to the festival audience.

To enter, by August 5th, contestants need to submit two videos via the festival's website (freshgrass.com)---one live performance of an original composition and one live performance of a bluegrass traditional. Notes festival producer Chris Wadsworth, "We want to hear musicians who know the rules well enough to break them!"

Submission videos will be judged on originality, instrumental/vocal skill, and bluegrass proficiency. Award finalists will be notified of their award slot in mid-August. The contest runs on an indoor stage throughout the festival. The winner will be announced on the festival main stage on Sunday afternoon, September 21st.

Developed in an effort to boost the careers of promising young musicians, the FreshGrass Award looks for future stars of the bluegrass festival circuit. 2013 Award winner Cricket Tell the Weather has filled clubs around the northeast, since its FreshGrass debut last year, and will return to perform at this year's festival.  "It's a thrill," Wadsworth continues, "to watch the next generation of music-makers hunker down in this contest while the top bluegrass musicians in the country are playing right outside the doors on festival stages, jamming in workshops, picking in the courtyards, and sometimes popping in to the contest stage to have a listen."

About FreshGrass

An opportunity for enthusiasts to both appreciate and participate, FreshGrass is a family-friendly festival, brimming with bright talent on our four stages, and also in our galleries, brick-lined courtyards and grassy field.  FreshGrass is more than a festival - the event and its website are a hub for the bluegrass community.

Music starts early in the museum courtyards, moves to a spacious (and grassy!) urban concert meadow, and continues well after dark with wild and wooly late-night barn dances in the Hunter Center on Friday and Saturday nights.  Instrument-specific workshops and industry seminars are offered in conjunction with Berklee College of Music and its American Roots Program, and often feature guest musicians from the festival.

The festival continues to be one of the best values on the festival circuit. Limited-time, early-bird, three-day festival passes are available for $87 adults, $77 students, and $43 children 7 to 16.  Children 6 and under are admitted free.  Single-day tickets may be offered closer to the event, on a space-available basis. Museum members receive a 10% discount on the regular ticket prices, but membership discounts do not apply to the early-worm and early-bird discounted ticket prices. The festival will be held rain or shine.

The FreshGrass 2014 Lineup

The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Railroad Earth, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn,Sam Bush, The Infamous Stringdusters, David Grisman Sextet, The Gibson Brothers, Alison Brown, Valerie June, Aoife O'Donovan, Rodney Crowell, Sam Amidon, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Claire Lynch, Darol Anger, Martha Redbone Roots Project, Cricket Tell The Weather

Sponsorship and Partners

FreshGrass is sponsored by Compass Records, American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music, the Porches Inn, Chronogram, and The Fretboard Journal. FreshGrass is a coproduction of MASS MoCA and FreshGrass, LLC.

About MASS MoCA

MASS MoCA is one of the world's liveliest (and largest) centers for making and enjoying today's most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on its 19th-century factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies, making MASS MoCA among the most productive sites in the country for the creation and presentation of new art. More platform than box, MASS MoCA strives to bring to its audiences art experiences that are fresh, engaging, and transformative.

From June 21 through September 1, 2014, MASS MoCA's galleries are open 10am to 6pm every day, Sundays through Wednesdays, with extended evening hours to 7pm on Thursdays through Saturdays, when performing arts events are often featured. In non-summer months, MASS MoCA's galleries are open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. The Hall Art Foundation's Anselm Kiefer exhibition is open seasonally, Spring - Fall.  As of June 21, 2014, gallery admission is $18 for adults, $16 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $6 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit massmoca.org.

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