Texas Folklife’s Big Squeeze searches for the next generation accordionists

The 15th annual Big Squeeze Accordion Contest, presented annually byTexas Folklife, announces its 2021 event featuring youth competitions and virtual concerts in traditional Texas accordion music genres including conjunto, polka, Cajun, zydeco, and more. Cajun, Zydeco and Polka categories are open to ages 25 and under and Conjunto is open to 21 and under. The contest strives to help preserve traditional Texas music by promoting the young people who are picking up the accordion and carrying the music on through their own endeavors. 

The Big Squeeze season begins in March by accepting online entries by video. In the Conjunto category, semi-finalists will be featured on Saturday, April 17 during the Conjunto Semi-Finalsfrom Home, co-presented with the Museum of South Texas History, and including a special performance by Brownsville-based band, Conteño. Then, contest finalists in all genre categories will compete in the ever-popular Big Squeeze Finals From Home co-presented by the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin on Saturday, May 8, where grand prize winners will be announced. Both of these events will be on Facebook Live. Each of the grand prize winners will receive a prize package valued at over $1,500 including a new accordion, cash prize, future performance opportunities with Texas Folklife, publicity, professional development and other professional opportunities. 

Sign-up, event details, and contest rules in English and Spanish are now available at texasfolklife.org/bigsqueeze2021. Interested players are encouraged to submit an application no later than April 7, 2021, at midnight CT.  

2021 Big Squeeze Schedule

  • Wednesday, April 7 by Midnight / Deadline for entries 
  • Saturday, April 17 / Conjunto Semi-Finals / co-presented with the Museum of South Texas History 
  • Saturday, May 8 / Big Squeeze Finals and Concert / co-presented with the Bullock Texas State History Museum

The Big Squeeze is presented by Texas Folklife as part of its mission to preserve and present Texas’ diverse cultural heritage. Since 2007, Texas Folklife has promoted Texas accordion music genres through the Big Squeeze program. More than 300 young, talented players from dozens of Texas communities have participated in the program, which supports these vital community-based accordion music traditions.   

This year’s Program Director is longtime Texas Folklife producer and partnerSarah Rucker. This is Rucker’s 11th Big Squeeze to help produce in its 15-year history. 

The Big Squeeze is supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts, the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, H-E-B, the Texas Music Office, Hohner Accordions, and Rancho Alegre. Additional support is provided by regional partners. 


  • Texas Folklife Facebook
  • Texas Folklife Instagram
  • Suggested hashtags: #bigsqueeze2021 #texasfolklife #texasmusic #bigsqueeze #accordion #acordeon 

Texas Folklife (TXF) is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. TXF is designated by the National Endowment for the Arts as the official folk and traditional arts organization for the state. Since 1984, TXF has honored traditions passed down within communities, explored the importance of traditional arts in contemporary society and celebrated the state’s vibrant heritage by providing arts experiences enjoyable and accessible for all generations. For more information, visit www.texasfolklife.org.

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