Deadline: June 15, 2024
Does NOT Accept Submissions of: Plays/ Radio/Film/TV material /



Contest Rules

  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-writers.
  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 year may not re-enter in the specific category in which they won or re-enter the winning song. 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.
  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.
  5. Performance – Artists scheduled to perform at MerleFest are not eligible to enter the CASC in the year they are performing.
  6. Online Entries – The 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.
  7. All Entries – Only entries submitted according to the rules will be considered. No deadline extensions.  No exceptions. Compact disc will not be returned.
  8. Entry Fees – All entry fees are non-refundable.

Comments from NMI Staff:

The CASC application details will be available Mid-February for MerleFest 2021, September 16 -19.


As of January 2023, there is no further information about the contest.


No updates for 2024 as of Sept 2023.

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