Fans of Wyoming music will want to be in Ten Sleep this weekend for the state’s second annual Singer-Songwriter Competition.
The contest will see some of the state’s top singer-songwriters, as selected in competitions in 10 communities around Wyoming, compete for a chance to have one of their songs professionally recorded.
“Top to bottom, it will be great music,” said Jon Gardzelewski, founder of Wyoming Singer-Songwriters and an organizer of the competition. “It’s a great opportunity to hear and meet new people. Some of the best people writing and recording songs will be there from every corner of the state.”
Wyoming Singer-Songwriters for five years sponsored a Laramie competition before opening it up for artists from around the state in 2018.
The first year’s competition saw 75 musicians from around the state take part. This year, the number grew to 85, 37 of whom advanced from the preliminary rounds to the semi-finals.
“The first year, I twisted the arms of everybody I knew and that helped,” Gardzelewski said. “This year, I didn’t do that. I had my hands full with new venues — Rock Springs, Ten Sleep, Gillette — and each of those places had a wealth of new people who were not aware of the competition last year.”
The field of competitors at the weekend’s event will represent a broad mix of musicians, Garzelewski said.
“We’ve got a good mix of old and young, guys and girls, just a good diversity,” he said. “What people will find is they will hear somebody they just fall in love with and that person may not even make it to the finals, there’s so much good music.”
Judging in the preliminary rounds was handled by the musicians themselves. At this weekend’s contest, musicians performing at the Ten Sleep Brewing Co. will be joined as judges by panels of music professionals.
After four semi-final rounds beginning at 4 p.m. Friday and running through Saturday, eight musicians will advance to the grand finale, to begin at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The champion as determined in voting by the musicians and the judges will receive $500, a headline performing spot at the Beartooth Music Festival in Cody, a performing spot at next year’s What Fest and a chance to record their song in a professional studio.
An additional event at this year’s contest will be a Traditional Song Challenge, where participating musicians will offer their versions of folk or traditional songs.
Tickets for the event cost $15 per day or $30 for the full competition. Those buying the full-access tickets will also receive a four-disk compilation of songs from the 2018 competition.