The DC Bluegrass Union (DCBU) has announced the Hazel Dickens Song Contest for 2021, now open for entries.   This annual contest awards prizes to new original bluegrass or gospel songs, honoring the memory of the late singer/songwriter Hazel Dickens.

A product of the West Virginia coal country, Dickens moved to Baltimore, MD, as a young woman to find factory work. She started performing throughout the Baltimore/Washington region and was soon recognized for her singular mountain singing style and her gift with a lyric.

Dickens wrote of coal miners, unionization, hard times, feminism and much more.  She recoded for Rounder, and won an IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 1993.

A three-judge panel will select the winning songs, which will be announced on February 16, 2021.  The entry fee is $30 per song and all entries must be received by January 5, 2021.  First, second and third-place winners receive cash prizes ($500/$250/$100).  Entry rules, judging criteria, and instructions for submitting your songs can be found on the DCBU website.

All proceeds from the Hazel Dickens Song Contest help fund the DCBU, a nonprofit all-volunteer organization with a mission to promote bluegrass music in the greater Washington region through education and performance.