2021 Podunk Songwriters Contest submissions open

The Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival, held each summer in Connecticut for the past 25 years – except for 2020, when pandemic restrictions made that impossible – is all set to go forward with their 2021 event. It is wonderful news when we can report festivals and concerts making plans for live music this year, even if attendance may be limited in some cases.

One aspect of Podunk ’21 that will go forward even if shutdowns should occur once again is their annual Songwriters Contest, which in addition to cash prizes and festival merchandise, also provides for winning entries to be broadcast on the radio, and distributed on a CD provided to acts competing in the following year’s Band Contest.

The competition occurs in two stages. Six semi-finalists will be selected from among all entries, which will be narrowed again to three finalists, the writers of which will be invited to perform their song live on stage at the festival. Those will be ranked after final judging with the following prizes awarded:

  • First Prize – $200, a festival T-shirt, one four-day Camping Ticket for two people to the next Podunk Bluegrass Festival, an Award certificate, and airing of their song on radio.
  • Second Prize – $100, a festival T-shirt, one pair of four-day General Admission tickets to the next Podunk Bluegrass Festival, an Award certificate, and airing of their song on radio.
  • Third Prize – $50, a festival T-shirt, one pair of General Admission Tickets good for any single day of the next Podunk Bluegrass Festival, an Award certificate, and airing of their song on radio.

Submissions to enter for 2021 must be received by April 30, and can be sent via postal mail or email. There is a $25 entry fee for each song. Complete rules and guidelines can be found online.

One aspect of the Podunk Songwriters Contest that entrants should observe is that they do not take a overly broad view of what belongs within the genre. This guidance is offered from the Rules page online:

Bluegrass is a style of acoustic music that originated in the 1940s when Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs combined elements of country/western, Gospel and blues music with the British, Irish, and Scottish music of their Appalachian mountain heritage. It is played most commonly on the mandolin, fiddle, five-string banjo, six-string guitar, and upright bass, but the resonator guitar (‘Dobro”), harmonica, and electric bass are also found in bluegrass. Percussion is not generally used, with the insistent rhythm being a result of the interplay of the stringed instruments. Bluegrass music is often called “that high lonesome sound,” but it includes a wide range of lively instrumentals, sweet ballads in three-part harmony, soulful a capella Gospel quartets, and up-tempo love songs.

Find all the necessary information to submit to the Podunk Songwriters Contest on their official web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.