Poetry Slam

On fertile borders, near the stream,
Now gaze with pleasure and delight;
See loaded vines with melons teem–
‘Tis paradise to human sight.

– George Moses Horton, “On Summer”

We are proud to dedicate the poetry contest to George Moses Horton, Chatham County’s historic poet laureate, who lived from 1797-1883. Horton was a black man born into slavery. He sold love poems to college students at a farmers market in Chapel Hill. Learn more about George Moses Horton.

Our Poetry Slam is graciously hosted by Sacrificial Poets, a local, award-winning spoken word poetry organization that serves middle, high school, and college-aged youth in the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

How It All Works…

Speak out on stage and share your talent to win ribbons, cash prizes, festival merchandise, and free tickets to future festivals!

  • 1st place: $100
  • 2nd Place: $75
  • 3rd place: $50
  • 4th place: $25
  • 5th place: festival t-shirt and travel mug full of coffee/tea

Free passes to the next Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival will also be awarded for:

  • Most original poem
  • Best poem that celebrates peace
  • Best poem that celebrates another poet
  • Best poet who got robbed by the judges

Registering / Lottery

The allotted time for the Shakori Hills Poetry Slam allows for around 15 slots for participants to share their words and be entered to win the competition. Interested festival-goers will be able to sign up from 15 minutes before the slam to 15 minutes after the start time. At quarter after, the lottery will begin to select who among the registrants will get to perform for the judges. 15 folks will be selected through the lottery. If time allows, folks who signed up that were not selected may get a chance to share their words in an Open Mic time once the winners have been selected.


  • Each poem presented must be under 3 minutes and 30 seconds, otherwise, points will be deducted
  • Each poet must use his or her voice only, no additional props or guests

Age of participants

  • Since the Shakori Hills Poetry Slam can sometimes have mature content and due to the skill level of some of our older participants, we ask that only folks in high school or older enter into the lottery to present their poems.
  • We are working toward a slam for younger participants either in the Outpost or Cabaret Tent on Friday, so stay tuned for more information about that.

Be brave!­ Speak out! Share your poetry in our Poetry Contest!

Old-Time / Bluegrass Instrument Contest

Fiddle, Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin! The instrument contest is a fun and exciting part of the festival, showcasing the great talent and originality of Shakori Hills folks. Come compete to win your 15 minutes of fame, fiddlers’ convention style!

  • Acoustic instruments only
  • Sign-ups start half an hour before the contests behind the Grove Stage
  • All places receive ribbons! 1st place $50, 2nd place $25, 3rd place Festival t-shirt.

Grassroots Band Contest

Come play a song or two, all instruments welcome! Register under band name half hour before contest begins. 1st place gets $100 and the chance to perform Sunday, 2nd place receives free tickets to the next Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, 3rd place wins festival t-shirts for band members.

Our Band and Instrument Contests are honorably hosted by the musically talented, non-judgmental judge minded, and all around great guys: Jef and the Grove Stage Pickers!

IMM May2

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