Music. Moments. Memories.

Chris Austin Songwriting Contest

Chris Austin Songwriting Contest

CONTEST IS CURRENTLY CLOSED. ENTRIES WILL BE ACCEPTED OCTOBER 1, 2017 - FEBRUARY 1, 2018.  MerleFest offers songwriters the opportunity to have their original songs heard by a panel of professional songwriters and others from the Nashville music industry by participating in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest help support the WCC Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception, the Chris Austin Scholarship has helped 84 students and awarded over $34,600.

2017 MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners:


1st: Linda Jean Stokley (Versailles, Ky.) – “Cigarette Trees”

2nd: Mike Bentley (Virgie, Ky.) – “Waiting at the Harbor”

3rd: Matthew Hurd (Rogersville, Tenn.) – “Life Underground”


1st: Paul Kelly (Santa Fe, N.M.), Buddy Guido (Mohawk, N.Y.), and Willie Schoellkopf (Buffalo, N.Y.) “Trap Door (In the Ceiling)”

2nd: Ian Meadows (Chester, Ct.) – “Faithless Preacher”

3rd: Kevin Hale (Brentwood, Tenn.) – “I’m Finally Going Home”


1st: Mary Bragg (Nashville, Tenn.), Liz Poston (Nashville, Tenn.) – “Lucky Strike”

2nd: Carly Burruss (Cumming, Ga.) – “Communion Wine”

3rd: Erin James (Nashville, Tenn.) – “Wilted Flower”


1st: Catherine Backus (Bedford, Va.) – “Tomatoes”

2nd: Alexa Rose (Boone, N.C.)– “Borrow your Heart”

3rd: Shay Martin Lovette (Boone, N.C.), Locke Griffith (Carrboro, N.C.) – “Bermuda Run”


Enter October 1, 2017!

October 1 - November 30 is our Early Bird: $25 per song entry! $30 per entry from December 1 - February 1, 2018.

Contest closes on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at midnight. Winners will be announced in early Spring 2018.