First Song Entry



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  • 1st song entry $50
  • Each additional song entry $25 Fee
  • Event entrance fee (non-performing attendees) $20 adult $10 children


Song Genre Categories:

  • Bluegrass
  • Country
  • Folk
  • Gospel/Christian-Contemporary/Inspirational
  • Jazz/Blues
  • Pop
  • Rock
  • Trop Rock
  • Lyrics Only

CASH PRIZES plus other gifts TBA

  • Grand Prize Winner $500 plus
  • Listeners’ Choice Winner $250 plus
  • Category 1st Place Winners $125 plus
  • Category 2nd Place Winners $100 plus
  • Category 3rd Place Winners $ 75 plus


  • Each song may be no longer than 4 minutes in length
  • Songs are judged based on the song not on the performance of the song
  • Genre categories will be judged on structure, lyrics, originality, melody
  • Lyrics Only Category is judged on structure, lyrics, originality
  • Each song submitted must be the contestant’s original work
  • You may enter as many songs as you would like in the 2019 SMSWF Song Competition however, you may not enter the same song in more than one genre category
  • Note Any song can be in the Lyrics Only Category even if it was previously entered into a genre category

Who Can Enter:

The SMSWF Song Competition is open to all non-professional songwriters who do not currently have (or have ever had) a professional publishing deal. Contestants must not have had any cuts by major artists, songs placed in film or television, jingles on radio or television or any other sync songs that have earned income. Paid gigs (performing original material) are not considered songwriting income. If contestant is under 18 years old, the parent or guardian is required to send us an email at stating they have given their minor permission to enter the 2017 SMSWF Song Competition. In addition, one parent or guardian’s entrance will be free of charge to accompany contestant.

Performance Requirement:

Should the contest become a finalist, they agree to perform in the SMSWF Song Competition Finale and Awards Event in Gatlinburg, TN, Friday August 16. Non-performing guests of each contestant will be charged a $20 entrance unless contestant is under the age of 18, then only one parent or guardian will be allowed free of charge. If the contestant is not able to attend, they forfeit their spot in the Finale and their spot goes to the next highest score. Finalists may have other opportunities to perform in the SMSWF on Friday, Aug 16, and Saturday Aug 17 2018 in Gatlinburg, TN, it is required that we are notified of your availability if you wish to in one of the Showcase Round Spotlights. Only one instrument and one singer can perform in the contest. No performance for Lyrics Only entries. The winner in the Lyrics Only Category will be announced and recognized at the SMSWF Song Competition Finale and Awards Show during the 8th Annual Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival. Lyric Only contestants do not have to be present to win; however, we encourage them to be so we can recognize them.

Guidelines for Judging:

Each song may be no longer than 4 minutes in length. If song exceeds the 4-minute limit, it will be disqualified. Finale winners will be chosen by a committee of judges comprised of music industry professionals, including but not limited to noted songwriters, producers, publishers, radio and label personnel.

Preliminary Judges will also include publishers, songwriters, industry and educators in the music and songwriting field that know and teach songwriting.

Genre Category songs will be judged based on melody, structure, originality and lyrics. Lyrics Only Category will be judged on structure, originality and lyrics.

SMSWF will post Finalists and Honorable Mentions on its website and will notify entrants by e-mail that results are posted.