Austin, Texas – Texas Folklife announces its eighth annual Big Squeeze accordion contest for up-and-coming Texas musicians, 21 years of age or younger. The non-profit that endeavors to preserve and promote Texas’s diverse cultural heritage is looking for great players in all genres of the Lone Star State’s accordion-based music, including German, Czech, and Polish polka; Creole, and Cajun zydeco; and conjunto, norteño, and Tejano.

In order to better nurture young Texas talent, Texas Folklife is restructuring the popular contest this year. The contest will go on the road again this spring in order to meet the young accordion players in their communities in “talent showcases.” Three Final Grand Prize Winners will be devoted to the three main accordion genres—polka, zydeco, and conjunto. The polka genre will include German, Czech, and Polish traditions. Zydeco will include Creole and Cajun musical traditions. And conjunto will include norteño and Tejano. The showcases will be free, open to the public, and feature performances by local musicians.

The Big Squeeze 2014 talent showcases:

Feb. 1 at the Houston Creole Festival; Feb. 8 at La Joya High School; Feb. 9 at McDonald Public Library in Corpus Christi; Feb. 22at the Texas Polka Festival & Symposium in Schulenburg; Feb. 23 at MECA [Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts] in Houston; Mar. 23 at the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas; Mar. 29 at Los Fresnos High School; April 4 at the Gallista Gallery with Conjunto Heritage Taller in San Antonio.

Nine finalists (three from each genre) will be chosen from the field of performers at the showcases (and those who send in their performances to Texas Folklife) by a panel of esteemed music professionals. Accordionists will be judged on their technical proficiency—skill in playing, and technical and musical accuracy—as well as their song interpretation (stylistic choices, innovation, and originality) and stage presence (level of comfort on stage and attention to personal appearance). The nine finalists will be announced on April 11.

The finalists will perform at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin on Saturday, April 26. Three Grand Prize Winners will be selected. There will be one winner for each accordion category—polka, zydeco, and conjunto. All three winners will perform at Texas Folklife’s highly acclaimed annual Accordion Kings & Queens Festival atHouston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre on Saturday, June 7, 2014. The three young winners will hit the jackpot because this will be a special year to perform at Accordion Kings & Queens as it will be the 25th anniversary!

Interested players are encouraged to reserve a showcase slot at a venue in their region by contacting Texas Folklife. Those who cannot attend a showcase may also mail or e-mail their entries to arrive at Texas Folklife no later than April 7, 2014. The complete contest rules and entry forms are available online at or by calling (512) 441-9255.

The three Big Squeeze 2014 Grand Prize Winners will receive a prize package valued at more than $4,000, including a cash prize, a brand new Hohner accordion, performance opportunities in Austin and Houston, publicity, professional development, and other professional opportunities.

1317 S. Congress Avenue

Austin, Texas 78704

T (512) 441-9255

F (512) 441-9222

Media information:

Sheree Scarborough / (512) 922-5483 /

Big Squeeze information:

Sarah Rucker/ (512) 441-9255 /