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Contest Rules and Entry

Contest Rules and How To Enter

Contest Opening and Deadline

The CASC will be accepting entries beginning October 1, 2014; the contest deadline is February 1, 2015. Finalists will be announced on this website by April 1st.


  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. This also applies to co-writer.
  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. Lyrics should also be written and recorded in English.

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. CASC Electronic Entry System. The payment method will utilize PayPal. Click here to enter.
  2. US Mail. Click here for entry form.


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.
  • 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.