Vertex Festival Vertex Festival

Buena Vista, Colorado August 5 - 7, 2016


There are things Colorado is famous for, and there are things Colorado should be famous for. Our voracious love for talented musicians is a part of the spirit that shapes Vertex. We’re working to pull that love out front and center.

In partnership with CAN’d AID, this showcase of musical excellence will become a Vertex tradition. Join us Saturday from 2-4:30 pm on La Hacienda Stage to celebrate these skilled Colorado artists as they perform in front of a panel of CAN’d AID & Oskar Blues judges to become a Vertex Musical Champion!

About the Musical Championships Judges

Diana Ralston

Diana Ralston is the Executive Director of the CAN’d Aid Foundation – the do-goodery arm of Oskar Blues Brewery. CAN’d Aid’s TUNES program works with musicians around the US to increase access to music, arts and culture, donate musical instruments to music programs in need and partner with musicians and artists. Diana is also the Director of Sponsorships for Oskar Blues Brewery and is working to launch “Oskar Blues Presents” a music-based initiative that supports artists, creates memorable musical experiences and gives back to local communities. She directed the Crested Butte Arts Festival for seven years and has worked with the Western States Arts Federation and Center for the Arts in Crested Butte. As an avid lover of live music, Diana digs rock, country, funk and anyone that can pick up an instrument and jam. When she’s not gittin’ down to live music, Diana can be found riding her mountain bike.

Lucas Erickson

Lucas Erickson is a musician and music festival professional. Owner of ZeroHero, Lucas travels the world helping festival producers create sustainable programs for their events. In the process of spreading sustainable practices, Lucas gets to experience live music performances from all types of genres. Among the hundreds of music festivals he has attended, he is most proud of being able to call himself a Jam Cruise lifer. His musical interests range from acid jazz to bluegrass and everywhere in between. Lucas attended the University of Minnesota where he played alto saxophone and studied jazz composition under Bobby McFarren. He loves camping and playing sing alongs on his guitar around the campfire. Lucas resides in Fort Collins with his wife, two children and two dogs.

Sarah Leavitt

Sarah Leavitt is the Program Director of the CAN’d Aid Foundation. Through CAN’d Aid’s TUNES program, she is working to foster a love for music by increasing access to music education, creating unique live music experiences and cultivating opportunities for emerging artists. Sarah works with TUNES ambassadors like the Steep Canyon Rangers, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, and the Infamous String Dusters to host music workshops for underprivileged students around the nation and is building programs that invest in the next generation of artists. She has a love for live music of all types, especially – indie, rock, Americana, funk, and blues, has a fierce appreciation for anyone that can “slap the bass” and is known to kick of her shoes and cut a rug.

Strings Semi-Finalists

Pedal Harp & Voice
Denver, CO

8 Bit Cypher
Ames, CO

Matt Rouch
Denver, CO

Live Looping Semi-Finalists

Gordon Lewis
Guitar, violin, accordion, woodwinds, & percussion
Colorado Springs, CO

Melody Monroe
keys, vox, & loops
Westminster, CO

Russick Smith
cello, bass, mandolin, & concertina
Breckenridge, CO

DJ/Producer Semi-Finalists

Molly Go Litely
Denver, CO

Ableton (Akai APC40 mkII) & Bass Guitar
Denver, CO

DJ & Acoustics
Boulder, CO

Contest Information

This is a call for skilled amateur performers of diverse musical backgrounds to apply to perform and be rewarded at Vertex.

In our inaugural year, we are calling for video applications from individual amateur performers of special excellence. From these applications, categories will be formed, and the most skilled performers in each category will be invited to compete as Semi-Finalists in The 2016 Vertex Musical Championship. The Best In Class for each category will be announced as such, and receive special honors as well as a place on the lineup for the following year’s event.


Semi-Finalists will receive…

  1. An invitation to perform in a 10 minute championship slot for their category at Vertex 2016
  2. Their video application posted on Vertex social media channels and/or on the Vertex website
  3. One (1) Complimentary Base Camp Ticket to Vertex 2016

Best In Class will receive…

  1. Official designation as 2016 Best In Class for their championship category
  2. An offer to join the 2017 Vertex Lineup for one (1) 60 minute solo performance
  3. An announcement of their Best In Class status through Vertex


Video auditions will be accepted May 6 – July 13, 2016 at 11:59pm MT. Semi-finalists will be selected and announced in July of 2016.

The performance showcase will take place on site at the Vertex Festival on Saturday, August 6, 2016.

Selection Process

Judged by: The Vertex Talent Team & Members of the Music Community

Judgement method: By reviewing videos and comparing talent criteria

Judged on:

  • 70% Skill and artistry in sound
  • 30% Stage Presence


  • This is a contest for individual musical performers only. No duos, bands, or extraneous performers of any kind will be accepted.
  • This contest is for amateur musicians only.
  • The video must feature the performer, head on, playing their instrument.
  • The video must feature one original song played in its entirety.
  • Please submit only one video.
  • Semi-finalists will be chosen based on quality of performance, artistry, and technical skill.
  • Applicants may work in any musical medium – acoustic or electric guitar, mandolin, DJing or scratching, acapella song, flute, etcetera.

How to Apply

Step 1: Create or select a video in which you…

  • Are seated head on, facing the camera
  • Are the only musical performer
  • Perform a musical composition of short to moderate length in its entirety, in view of the camera
  • Can clearly be heard as well as seen

Step 2: Upload your video to Youtube, titled “Vertex Championship 2016” and post it on the Vertex Facebook Page to share it with the community.

Step 3: Share your video with the hashtag #VertexChampionship2016 on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and tag Vertex where you can.

Step 4: Click here to submit your video for showcase consideration.

 The Vertex Musical Championship