Songwriter’s Competition

Proudly sponsored by:

Get inspired!

Read “THE PRIZE THAT KEEPS ON GIVING, Thoughts on my mentor and me” by Shirley-Ann Rowley, the 2019 winner of Emerging Artist competition.

The History:

In 2012, the Songwriter’s Competition sponsored by Atherton Trophies was reintroduced to the Tablelands Folk Festival with songwriters able to present their songs for the opportunity to win a prestigious award associated with the Tablelands Folk Festival event. In 2015 additional endorsement for the competition from McGinty’s Irish Bar saw it named McGinty’s Songwriter Competition.  With additional sponsorship since 2016 from Buzz Music and Cairns Voice Studio, be assured that this is a competition well worth winning. In 2018, a grant was received from APRA/AMCOS Music Fund supporting the interests of Australian composers and/or songwriters.

Award Winning Songwriters:

Our award winning songwriters over the years have been:-

  • 2019 – Best Song: Trevor Jackson | Open Songwriter Category: Jimmy Bay | Emerging Songwriter Category: Gary Smyth | Highly Commended: Sabine Bester | Encouragement Award: Jeremy Fletcher
  • 2018 – Best Song: Reuben Dwyer | Open Songwriter Category: Amber Farnan | Emerging Songwriter Category: Shirley-Ann Rowley | Highly Commended: Gar MacLeman | Encouragement Award: Darren Crosthwaite
  • 2017 – Best Song and Open Category: Rebecca Drollinger Emerging Category: Samantha Norris
  • 2016 – Best Song and Open Category: Tim Borella Emerging Category: Amber Farnam
  • 2015 – Lucky Phil
  • 2014 – Katie Jay
  • 2013 – Steve Williams 2013 – Liliana Pacheco who won the Ken McKay Memorial Songwriter’s Competition for Under 18’s. Her prize was a beautiful Tanglewood Guitar personally signed by inspirational Tablelands’ songwriter, Ken McKay.
  • 2012 – Ray Danes

Venue:

Saint Mark’s Church, Yungaburra.
Saint Mark’s Church, Yungaburra is such an amazing acoustic space and it will be our venue again this year, a place where songwriters can stage the performance of their songs for the competition.

What’s New this year:

Announcing TWO RECORDING PRIZES this year. “Record that Single”  for Best song in Emerging Category as well as “Record that Single” for Best song in Open Category.  

This year the competition will have a nominal entry fee of $10.

Entry fee can be paid at online ticketing, festival ticketing or at the competition venue on the day.  Weekend and Session ticket holders will be excluded from paying the fee.

Guidelines:

The competition for the Emerging Category will take place on Saturday morning commencing at 10am and the Open Category will take place on Saturday afternoon commencing at 1pm.
Fifteen (15) entry places are available for the Emerging Songwriter Category.
Fifteen (15) entry places are available for the Open Songwriter Category.
When entry places are filled, applications for the category will close.
On the day of the competition, applications will still be received if there are places available.
On the day of the competition, if all entry places are filled, a Reserve List will compile further names to offer a place if there are any cancellations or ‘no shows’.

Prizes:

Our categories and their prizes are as follows:

Best Song: “Record that Single” Prize Package – OPEN CATEGORY
Sponsorship prize from: Buzz Music Recording Studio

The winner will be awarded 2020 Tablelands Folk Festival Best Song – OPEN CATEGORY

Prize Pack includes:

  • ‘Record that Single’ at Buzz Recording Studio, Cairns.
  • 6 hour Full Studio and Recording Engineer Hire – Value $420
  • Recorded single fully mixed and mastered – Value $200
  • Physical and Digital copy supplied to artist (Included)
    TOTAL VALUE $620
  • Star Turn on the Tafe Stage at the festival

All contestants entered are automatically competing for this prize.

Open Songwriter Category: “The Real McCoy” Prize Package

Sponsorship prizes from: McGinty’s Irish Bar
The winner will be awarded 2020 TFF Open Songwriter

Prize Pack includes

  • ’The Real McCoy’ Paid Gig Spot at McGinty’s Irish Bar, Cairns
  • Name engraved on TFF McGinty’s Songwriter Competition perpetual shield
    Value: $255
  • Star turn on Pub Lounge Stage at the festival

Emerging Songwriter Category: “Mentoring Magic” Prize Package
Sponsorship prizes from: Cairns Voice Studio and Atherton Trophies

Conditions apply: To enter this category you must agree to the conditions of the competition for Emerging Songwriter Category and affirm that… You have not had any of your songs released for commercial sale nor aggregated to Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, or similar online distribution service and that you are not a main stage [ie. Pub Lounge, Community Hall, Garden Stage] programmed performer at the festival.

The winner will be awarded 2020 TFF Emerging Songwriter

Prize Pack includes:
‘Mentoring Magic’ with Keesha Mclean Cairns Voice Studio

  • 2×1 hour Vocal Coaching Sessions – Value $170
  • 2×1 hour Performance & Industry Mentoring – Value $180
  • Performance Opportunity will be offered
    Value: $350+

Plus:

  • Individual trophy donated by Atherton Trophies
  • Star turn on the TAFE Festival Stage

Note: Emerging Songwriter Category does not need to have had extensive industry experience and will be recognised for their talent potential.

Best Song: “Record that Single” Prize Package – EMERGING CATEGORY
Sponsorship prize from: Coconut Groove Studio

The winner will be awarded 2020 Tablelands Folk Festival Best Song – EMERGING CATEGORY

Prize Pack includes:

  • ‘Record that Single’ at Coconut Groove Studio, Kuranda.
  • 4 hour Full Studio tracking time plus mixing and mastering.
  • Audio engineer included.  
    TOTAL VALUE $500
  • Star Turn on the TAFE Stage at the festival

All contestants entered in Emerging Category are automatically competing for this prize.

Special Award Certificates

‘Encouragement Award’

Sponsorship prize from:  Buzz Music
2 hour vocal and music industry business coach – Value $100
Star Turn on the TAFE Stage


‘Highly Commended Award’

Sponsorship Prize from: Cairns Voice Studio
1 ½ hour Performance & Industry Mentoring – Value $100
Star turn on the TAFE Festival Stage

Entry Requirement:

All contestants are required to perform an original song on the day that has not been recorded for commercial sale. Each contestant must be the writer of the song entered. Rhythm machines, backing tracks and midi files are not permitted for entry to this competition. Optionally, one person only for accompaniment will be allowable. All contestants are asked to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to commencement of the competition.

Judging:

The judges for this year’s competition are: Fiona Sewell, Jeanette Wormald and Shirley Lynn. Each judge will evaluate the songwriter’s performance and their song to decide the winners. Each contestant in the competition will be provided with a Certificate of Participation and a Judge’s Evaluation Summary in relation to their song and performance of it.

Contestants are encouraged to bring three (3) copies of their song lyrics to the competition to be handed to the judges prior to their performance. (Contestants will not be penalised if they do not provide the lyrics, but it may be helpful to the judges to view the lyrics on paper as the song is being performed.)

The competition this year will be judged on the following criteria:
Emerging Songwriter & Open Songwriter Categories:
Lyrics, Melody & Musicality, Structure, Originality, Song Attributes and Performance
Best Song:
Lyrics, Melody & Musicality, Structure, Originality and Song Attributes

Registration:

Registration is now open for the 2020 McGinty’s Songwriter Competition.
$10 entry fee payable at the competition venue on the day.  Weekend and Session ticket holders will be excluded from paying the fee.