MARCH 30, 2019


I’m thrilled to announce the inaugural Acoustic Traditions Band Contest, presented in partnership by Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance and the Desert Bluegrass Association. The contest includes $700 in cash prizes, free band photography, and a chance to perform on the mainstage at the Oro Valley Spring Festival of the Arts on March 30. The winner also receives a paid performance slot at the Marana Bluegrass Festival next year.

Please share with any bands, friends, or music associations you think would be interested!

Saturday March 30, 2019 | 11 AM – 4:30 PM | Oro Valley Marketplace
Presented by Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance and Desert Bluegrass Association

Apply for the Band Contest

Download Band Contest Rules and Overview

​Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance and the Desert Bluegrass Association are pleased to announce the inaugural Acoustic Traditions Band Contest at the Spring Oro Valley Festival of the Arts in Oro Valley, AZ. In keeping with the diversity of the various styles of bluegrass and traditional acoustic music that are found in Southern Arizona, this band contest is not confined to a specific genre of acoustic music. Rather, it is an opportunity for a broad variety of acoustic bands to display their talents, musicianship and entertainment abilities to a wide audience. In two rounds of competition, bands will compete for $700 in cash prizes and a paid performance opportunity at the Marana Bluegrass Festival the following year. Judges will be selected from Arizona professional music talent, Desert Bluegrass Association members, and SAACA staff and board members.


  • The Acoustic Traditions Band Contest is open to any band of 3 – 7 members rooted in an acoustic tradition including, but not limited to, Bluegrass, Folk, Celtic, Mariachi, and Old-Time
  • There is a one-time $30 entry fee to enter the contest that is non-refundable
  • There will be a two round judging process. All participants will receive constructive feedback from the judging panel and are invited to take free band photos at the March 30 festival with a professional photographer
  • After the first round (digital application review), up to 5 finalists will be selected to perform a 40 minute live set at the Oro Valley Festival of the Arts on Saturday March 30, 2019 from 11 AM – 4 PM with full stage production by a professional audio company
  • Cash prizes include $400 to 1st place, $200 to 2nd place, and $100 to 3rd place. The winner of the contest will receive a paid performance slot at the 2020 Marana Bluegrass Festival hosted by the Desert Bluegrass Association


  • Applications open January 30, 2019
  • Applications close February 28, 2019
  • Finalists notified March 8, 2019



  • First Prize $400 + Paid Performance at Marana Bluegrass Festival 2020
  • Second Prize $200
  • Third Prize $100
  • All participating bands can take free band photos with SAACA hired photographer at Oro Valley Festival of the Arts on March 30




For a full description of contest rules and format, please download and read this document:

Any questions should be directed to SAACA Arts Integration Manager – Matt Rolland,  520-274-2758