Rules & Regulations

  1. Each song submitted must have both instrumentation and lyrics; unless you are submitting Lyrics Only. NO INSTRUMENTAL ONLY songs will be allowed.
  2. The competition is open to all non-professional songwriters who do not currently have a professional publishing deal. Contestants must not have earned more than $2,500 income from the sale of their songs.
  3. Paid gigs (performing original material) are not considered songwriting income.
  4. If the contestant is under 18 years old, the signature of a parent or guardian is required.  Parent or guardian is to send a notarized letter of consent to: or mail it to SMSWF, PO Box 753, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.
  5.  Each song submitted must be contestant’s original work. By entering the contest, you agree that your entered song is an original work and therefore releases the SMSWF Songwriters Competition, Sponsors, and The Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival Inc. and any of its representatives and sponsors from any and all liability regarding royalty obligations. If there are cowriters on the winning song, the contestant who is there to perform the song and collect the prize money will be solely responsible for recognizing said co-writers and distributing said earnings should the song be a winner to the cowriters involved. 
  6. All entries shall not infringe on any copyright or any other rights of any third party. Contestant may not enter any song that is owned, wholly or partly, by any professional and working publishing company.
  7. Songs may have multiple co-writers, but only the submitting writer should be designated on the application as the contestant.
  8. Song is not to be longer than 4 minutes in length. If song exceeds the 4 minute limit, it will be disqualified.
  9. Contestant agrees to perform or have song performed if they are not a singer nor a musician in the SMSWF Song Competition Finale and Awards Show in Gatlinburg, TN during The Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival Aug. 11-18, 2019 should the song make it to the Finals.  Contestant must be present even if he/she is not performing the song. If the contestant is not able to attend they forfeit their spot in the Finale and it moves to the next highest score.  Contestant will receive special recognition and an Honorable Mention if they are unable to be there.
  10. Regarding harmonies and added musical instruments that make the song special: this competition is about the song not the performance; thus one instrument is used and only one singer when presenting the song during the SMSWF Song Competition Finale and Awards Show.
  11. There is no performance for “Lyrics Only” entries.  The winner of the Lyrics Only Category will be announced and recognized at the 2019 SMSWF Song Competition Finale and Awards Show.  A song entered in Lyrics Only can also be entered in a genre category.  Lyrics only contestants do not have to be present to win.
  12. Contestants may submit as many songs as he/she wishes. Each entry requires a MP3 file and lyric sheets without your name or contact information on it anywhere. Only the Title of the song is to be on the lyrics’ sheet along with the category you are entering the song into.  If you submit lyrics with your contact information on them your song will be disqualified.  It is the Contestant’s responsibility to ensure that the submitted song(s) are complete and playable.  SMSWF is not responsible for faulty files on a MP3.  SMSWF is not responsible for late, lost, damaged, misdirected, postage due, stolen, incomplete, or misappropriated entries.
  13. You can enter as many songs as you would like but you cannot enter the same song in more than one genre category. Any song can be entered into the Lyrics Only Category even if it is also entered into a genre category
  14. Winners in the Category Divisions will be notified by e-mail and/or phone. Finale winners will be chosen by a judging committee comprised of music industry professionals, including but not limited to noted songwriters, producers, publishers, radio and label personnel. Preliminary Judges will also include educators in the music and songwriting field that know the craft of songwriting and or teach the craft of 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.
  15. The Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival will post all results on its website and will notify entrants by e-mail that results are posted. Contestant is responsible for providing up-to-date and correct email addresses and phone number to SMSWF.   SMSWF is not responsible for contestant’s non-receipt of any SMSWF emails for any reason, including but not limited to, server or email malfunctions. If you want the song competition results mailed to you, you need to send SMSWF a stamped self-addressed envelope to SMSWF, PO Box 753, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.
  16. SMSWF reserves the right to extend the deadline. Judges have the right to create another category when they feel that several songs do not fit the categories currently listed. Said new category has to be agreed upon by the SMSWF committee.
  17.  All decisions of the judges and audience are final.
  18.  Contestant gives permission to the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival to use winner’s names, likenesses, recordings and voices for future advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation. Contestant retains rights to the song.
  19. All recordings, photographs, and videos taken by festival staff or representatives of SMSWF are reserved and shall become the property of SMSWF which can and will be used to promote SMSWF.   SMSWF in no way owns any publishing or copyright to your songs, but SMSWF can use such material to promote the SMSWF.
  20. If you make it to the 2019 SMSWF Song Competition Finale and Awards Show your song might be recorded on a CD for SMSWF to sell to raise monies to grow the SMSWF. Participation in the contest grants the SMSWF permission to record and use your song for future promotional materials only.

For more information contact or  call 865-604-9066.