Young Iowa musicians who have a solo act or play in a band have a shot at statewide exposure and landing a recording session through the Iowa Rocks Talent Contest.

Cindy Stanbro , at the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Association, says entries are now being taken.”It’s open for musicians 21 and under and it’s meant to provide opportunities for professional development for them and encourage them to participate in music outside of school,” Stanbro says. “It also lets them see what their peers are doing across the state.”

This is the fifth year for the competition and it’s grown since last year, which featured four regional contests. “This year, we have five regional competitions,” Stanbro says. “The first one will start in March in Okoboji. In April, we have Dubuque and Mason City and May is the one in Shenandoah and June is in Des Moines.”

The finals will be held Labor Day weekend in Arnolds Park and the winner will perform as the opening act during the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. “It’s open to any individual musician, instrumentalist, vocal group or a band and it has to be some sort of rock-based music,” but she notes, “rock” can mean just about anything since its roots vary from blues to country to pop to gospel. The winning act will also get recording time at Catamount Studios in Cedar Falls.

Last year’s winners included a tie for best group between “Been There Done That” from the Quad Cities and “Awakening Force” from Des Moines. The best individual performer was Eli Dykstra of Boyden. Learn more at

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)