MerleFest

Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Accepting Entries

MerleFest, presented by Window World, will begin accepting entries for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC) on Oct. 1. The contest is split into four genre-based categories including bluegrass, general, gospel, and country. First through third place winners will be chosen in each category at MerleFest 2020, set to take place on April 23 - 26, 2020. First-tier tickets for MerleFest 2020 will go on sale on Nov. 12, with Tier 2 pricing beginning Feb. 17, 2020, and Tier 3 pricing beginning April 23, 2020.

Now in its 28th year, CASC is an opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form at or by mailing entries to

MerleFest/CASC
P.O. Box 120
Wilkesboro, NC, 28697.

All entries received during October and November will receive an early entry discount price of $25 per entry, while submissions received in December and January will require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must be written in English and no instrumental entries will be accepted. The deadline to enter is Feb. 1, 2020.

Finalists will be invited to the final round of the competition, which takes place Friday, April 24, during MerleFest. First-place winners will receive $600 cash from MerleFest, a performance slot on MerleFest’s Cabin Stage on Friday night, and a 12-13 minute set on Saturday.

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