Competitions at the Sumner Bluegrass Jamboree

Vol State Sumner County Bluegrass JamboreeThe third annual Sumner County Bluegrass Jamboree is coming to Volunteer State Community College on Saturday, April 12 and everyone is invited to enjoy the free performances and competitions. The event is hosted by Vol State as part of the Bluegrass Music degree emphasis at the college. 

The competition starts at noon. Categories include: Bluegrass Band, Beginner Fiddle (ages15 and under), Junior Fiddle (16-39), Senior Fiddle (40 and up), Beginner Guitar (15 and under), Guitar (16 and up), Beginner Mandolin (15 and under), Mandolin (16 and up), Beginner Banjo (15 and under), Banjo (16 and up), Beginner Dobro (15 and under) and Dobro (16 and up).Registration is $10 for instrumentalists and $25 for bands. The competitions are open to everyone. Sign-up will be held the day of the event starting at 10 a.m. There will be monetary prizes based on the number of registrations in each category and judging by bluegrass veterans. The public is invited to watch the players square off.

"Bluegrass music is inherently competitive, as it's often up tempo, always energetic, and the players are truly unplugged, forcing them to play with commitment and stamina,” said Vol State assistant professor Ben Graves, who organizes the event and runs the Bluegrass Program. “Bluegrass players play their instruments a lot, so there's an engrained spirit of competition in the tradition.”

The Jamboree will also feature jamming and free concerts in the afternoon. Dobro ace Johnny Bellar and banjo virtuoso Mark Barnett will perform, along with the Vol State Bluegrass Ensemble- Bluegrass Ablaze.

"Bluegrass musicians take their tradition very seriously and it comes through in the music,” Graves said.  “Most music lovers, or folks that value musicianship, usually find something to like or enjoy in the Bluegrass tradition because it's about as real as music gets.”

The Sumner County Bluegrass Jamboree will be held from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. There is plenty of free parking. For more information visit  or call 615-452-8600, extension 2936.

Pictured: Bluegrass musicians at the Jamboree often play in pickup sets outside on the Vol State campus, as this group did last year.