Now in its 26th year, the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is an opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of this year’s volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. The first place winners will receive $600 cash from MerleFest and a performance slot on the Cabin Stage on Friday and Saturday at MerleFest 2018.
The deadline to enter the contest is Feb. 1. Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form or by mailing entries to MerleFest/CASC, PO Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC 28697. Submissions require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must be written in English and no instrumentals will be accepted. To read more about the contest rules and how to enter, visit: merlefest.org/chris-austin-songwriting-contest/enter-the-contest/.
MerleFest, presented by Window World and taking place April 26 - 29, 2018, has assembled a distinguished team of songwriters – Rodney Crowell, Andrew Marlin (of Mandolin Orange), and previous winner Johnny Williams (of Jeanette Williams Band) – to judge the on-site final round of this year’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.
The first round of the CASC competition takes place in Nashville, Tennessee, and is narrowed down to 12 finalists representing four categories: bluegrass, country, general and gospel/inspirational. Finalists are then invited to the final round of the competition, which takes place April 27 during MerleFest on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The first round judges include T Michael Coleman, Ken Tizzard, Aaron Burdett, CJ Lewandowski, and other notable industry songwriters.