The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest will be accepting entries through January of 2017, but there is a discounted fee of $25/song until Nov. 30. After that date the fee goes up to $30. Proceeds from this annual contest, now in its 25th year, support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. To date, they have awarded more than $41,000 to students in need of financial assistance.
The contest also awards $600 to the first place winner in each of four categories: Bluegrass, Country, General, Gospel/Inspirational. A $300 prize goes to the runner-up in each category with $100 for 3rd place. The competition is open to any songwriter who receives less than 50% of their income from songwriting or publishing. Instrumental music is not accepted.
Chris Austin was killed in a tragic plane accident near San Diego along with other members of Reba McEntire’s band and her tour manager. Pete Fisher, then of Warner Songs and currently general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, and Kari Estrin, then MerleFest consultant and “Pickin’ for Merle” video associate producer, initiated the contest to honor the memory of Austin
The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is affiliated with MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC, and the three finalists in each category will be invited to perform their song live for the judges on April 28 at the 2017 festival, with accommodations and tickets provided. This performance is required to be considered for the prize.
See merlefest.org/chris-austin-songwriting-contest for registration info and contest rules.