Wilkes Community College Image Inside
Facebook Image Inside
Twitter Image Inside
Contest Rules and Entry

Contest Rules and How To Enter


The contest deadline-February 19, 2014. Finalists will be announced the first week of April.  


  1. Income-The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is open to those whose primary source of income (50% or more) is not derived from songwriting or publishing. Income from performing gigs is not songwriting income. Be aware that some songwriters may play their music on tour or have their own album. All finalists will be asked to sign an official Acknowledgment of Eligibility.
  2. Original Work-All entries must be the original work of contestant and shall not infringe on any copyright or any other rights of any third party. Contestant may enter as many songs as desired, but this does not necessarily increase the chances of winning.
  3. Re-entry- First place winners during the past five years may not re-enter in the specific category in which they won. Second and third place winners during the past year may not re-enter the same song. Co-writers are subject to the same eligibility requirements as the entrant. Artists paid to perform at MerleFest are not eligible to enter the CASC in the year they are being paid.
  4. Musical Composition-Each song submitted must have both instrumentation and lyrics. NO INSTRUMENTAL SONGS.

There are four categories in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest: Bluegrass, Country, General, and Gospel/Inspirational. Judges will determine the musical parameters of each category and reserve the right to reassign a song to a more appropriate category if necessary.

How To Enter

There are two ways to enter the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.


  1. SonicbidsWe use Sonicbids to accept submissions! Submit your EPK™ at http://www.sonicbids.com/ChrisAustinSongwritingContest  Contest fee is $30 per entry.  Sonicbids will begin taking entries on August 1, 2013. For the month of August only, entries will be $25.

    "Sonicbids is the leading matchmaking site for emerging bands and music promoters. Since its launch in 2001, Sonicbids has become the de-facto standard for submitting music to events and opportunities around the globe, counting as partners thousands of prominent events and festivals in North America, Europe, and Australia. Today, the Company boasts a registered membership base of 300,000 bands from over 100 different countries, who use the site daily to connect with 25,000 music "promoters" – ranging from some of the world's largest music festivals and music conferences, to clubs, coffee houses, cruise ships, colleges, advertising agencies, brand managers, podcasters, music supervisors and other people looking to book, license or broadcast music. In 2010, bands and artists using Sonicbids booked close to 80,000 "gigs" through the site. Sonicbids' mission is to empower the Artistic Middle Class. Get a Gig or Book a Band at Sonicbids.com"
    By using Sonicbids, users will receive an email confirming their entry and will be notified if they are not selected the first week of April 2014.
  2. The CASC electronic entry system using PayPal as payment method is unavailable at this time. The deadline was February 19.


Online entry form and signature on entry form constitutes each song submitted is an original work and releases The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, sponsors, Wilkes Community College, and MerleFest from all liability. Entry also constitutes permission to use winner's name and likeness for future advertising and publicity without compensation.

Please Note:

  • Only entries submitted according to the rules will be considered.
  • Mail entries accepted only at the PO Box in Nashville via US Postal Service.
  • No deadline extensions. No exceptions.
  • Compact disc will not be returned.
  • Entry fees are non-refundable.
  • Entrant must perform song live in the finals at MerleFest.