2017 - A young 26-year old musician by the name of Solly Burton placed 2nd in this competition. He hails from Evansville, IN and considers himself a farmer, mechanic and mandolin player. He has attended this Festival six times and in 2007 he won the Walnut Valley Mandolin Championship and in 2011 he won the National Mandolin Championship. Solly loves the competition of the mandolin contest and enjoys picking with his friends. By the way, if you need some eggs, see Solly as he raises chickens. He also loves to water ski and Jet Ski. He takes back to Indiana the 2nd Place Trophy and a Collings MF5 Custom Mandolin by Collings Guitars Inc. of Austin, TX
First place in the 2007 mandolin competition was awarded to 16-year old Solly Burton of Sullivan, IN. Solly is a home schooled high school junior who has been playing the mandolin for seven years. This was his first time to the Festival and the contest. Solly said, “Many of my friends have told me how great the Walnut Valley Festival is and they told me I just had to go.” In addition to the mandolin, he plays the guitar and ukulele Solly’s mother bought him his first mandolin for $50 at a yard sale and when he decided it was the instrument for him, he began saving his money from selling chicken eggs and 4-H pigs to buy a brand new Weber mandolin a year later. In addition to jamming with friends, he lists as his hobbies raising chickens, ducks and quail for pets. His favorite pet is a quail he has named Jerome. He of course takes home the 1st place trophy, $250 and you guessed it a Weber Custom Elite “F” Style Mandolin by Weber Mandolins of Manhattan, MT.