Artists, composers, and side and session musicians.
Journalists, broadcasters (radio or television), photographers, historians, folklorists, and publishers.
Promoters, music publishers, agents, recording manufacturers and distributors, recording engineers and luthiers.
International organizers, association leaders, friends of the music, philanthropists, arts administrators, educators, and other innovators.
The Distinguished Achievement Awards Committee selects one individual from each of the four categories for recognition. They may choose to select an additional individual each year in the General category.
Candidates for the Distinguished Achievement are judged on their contributions to or influence upon bluegrass music, whether in general or in a specific branch of the industry. Their contributions should be unique, given the relative period of time in which they were made. They should embody the spirit of one who “pioneers” or opens new possibilities for the music. The Selection Committee is also urged to consider significant recent influences on the music as well as historic ones.