Apply to Perform at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

As home of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Western Folklife Center is always interested to learn about new artists as well as hear about new projects from old friends.

Applications have closed for the 2016 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, to be held January 25-30, 2016. Submissions postmarked April 1, 2015 and beyond will be held for the next Gathering. We will leave the Tips on Applying published temporarily for those who wish to start preparing for the 2017 Gathering at this time. Thank you for your interest!

For tips on applying, click here. To download a PDF of the relevant information, click here.

Have a Suggestion for the Next Year?

As home of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Western Folklife Center is always interested in learning about new artists as well as hearing about new projects from old friends. Please send your ideas and thoughts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

How Decisions Are Made

Unlike most events, the artists invited to perform are selected by a committee of cowboy poets, western musicians and cultural specialists. This committee meets in April to determine the invited artists for the following year. Notification takes place by late May.

The aim of the committee and Western Folklife Center staff is to create a program with a good balance of styles and genres, as well as broad regional, gender, age and ethnicity representation.

Key criteria include: quality of performance, quality of writing, appropriateness of genre to the event, and a connection or deep understanding of modern-day ranching and cowboy culture.