MerleFest, presented by Window World, is now accepting entries for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC). 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 2019, set to take place on April 25 - 28, 2019.
Now in its 27th year, CASC is an extraordinary 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, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form 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 February 1, 2019.
Finalists will be invited to the final round of the competition, which takes place Friday, April 26, during MerleFest. First place winners will receive $600 cash from MerleFest, a performance slot on MerleFest’s Cabin Stage on Friday night, and a 20-30 minute set on Saturday morning or afternoon.
“We are extremely proud of the career successes achieved by many CASC alumni. Among these are Gillian Welch (1993), David Via (1997, 2001), Johnny Williams (1998, 1999), Tift Merritt (2000), Becky Buller (2001), Michael Reno Harrell (2003), Adrienne Young (2003), Martha Scanlan (2003), Sam Quinn (2006) and Jeanette Williams (2007),” said Lee K. Cornett, coordinator of MerleFest’s CASC. “More recent alumni include Lara Lynn (2011) and Gary Alan Ferguson (2014). Other recent discoveries from the contest are Melody Walker of Front Country and Joseph Terrell of Mipso. I encourage all songwriters to put the final touches on your masterpiece and submit it to the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest!”
MerleFest 2018 Bluegrass winners include Vickie Austin (1st Place), James Woolsey (2nd Place), and Frank D. Ray (3rd Place) Gospel winners: Beth Lee (1st Place), Bob Hight (2nd Place), and Andy Owens (3rd Place). Country winners: Amanda Fields (1st Place), Marie Bradshaw (2nd Place), Cliff Westfall (3rd Place). General winners: Cliff Ritchey (1st Place), Bryan Elijah Smith (2nd Place), Zander Michigan (3rd Place).
Net proceeds from the contest support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception, the scholarship has awarded over $42,500 to deserving students. For contest rules, ways to enter, and more details about the contest, visit merlefest.org/chris-austin-songwriting-contest.