Podunk Songwriters Contest – Overview

The Annual Podunk Bluegrass Festival’s songwriting contest gets underway annually on November first. Songwriters have until April 30 to enter. The top three winners will receive cash prizes and other amenities, including the opportunity to perform their song on stage during the upcoming festival if they wish.

Some intangible perks for the 1st place winner include hearing the self-penned song performed by others. Each year, in addition to the songwriting contest, the festival also sponsors a band competition and these two events are somewhat entwined. Here’s how.

The top four competing bands will each perform the winning song from the previous year’s songwriting contest. This performance takes place on Thursday of the festival as part of the judging of the band competition.

It’s a special thrill for songwriters to hear their winning song arranged and performed by multiple bands in front of our Podunk audience. Those performances are recorded and provided to the writer. In addition, the writer’s own version of the song is provided to area radio stations to air with their bluegrass programming.

A special perk exists for those who don’t attain 1st place. A CD compilation of the Top 6 songs are provided to each of Podunk’s Main Stage performing bands plus all Showcase bands. Lyric sheets and contact data for the writers are also included.

Because there are several reasons why some writers may not want their song(s) provided to other performers, writers should indicate when submitting their entry if they don’t want their music included on the compilation. In no way will that affect the judging.

Entries go through two levels of judging; the first level is to select the best five songs. This number may be increased if there are ties among the top point getters. Those songs are then judged once again to determine the top three who will receive a chance to perform at the Podunk Festival. All judges are either prominent musicians, radio hosts or music instructors.

Performing at the festival is not mandatory for writers vying for first place and in no way will it affect the outcome of judging. When a contestant is not available to perform their song during the on-stage portion of this contest, either a recording of their song will be played over the sound system for the audience or the song may be performed by a group from the band competition or another group of Podunk’s choice.

As previously mentioned, the songwriting contest is tied to the band competition (sponsored by Telefunken Elektroakustik) and thereby the competing bands are required to perform the previous year’s winning song as part of their judged set.

Entries must be postmarked no later than April 30. To enter, submit the forms linked below along with a $25.00 entry fee per song. If you are sending more than one entry, you may mail the materials together in a single package. You may place multiple entries on a single CD, and you may also write just one check to cover multiple entry fees.