Common Ground on the Hill
​Acoustic Roots Songwriting Contest

​The contest is open to any original song in the bluegrass, old-time, Americana or folk genres.

Songwriting Contest

Accepting submissions from february 1 to april 1, at midnight, Eastern Time. Winners will be announced on april 12, 2024!

  • The recording must be done on acoustic instruments. (Exception: An electric bass is permitted on recordings.)
  • Songs must have lyrics.
  • Song exceeding five minutes will not be judged.
  • Songs must be formatted as .mp3 or .mp4a files.
  • Lyrics must be submitted with each entry either as a Word document or in the body of the submission email.
  • The writers must own the rights to their songs. They retain all rights to the songs that are entered.
  • Lyrics may be in any language, but an English translation MUST be included as well.
  • NOTE: Please remove all identification from songs and lyrics

​Performance quality will not be judged. It’s all about the song.

  • Accomplished songwriters will serve as judges.
  • Each judge will score a song on a 25-point scale, in half-point increments: 10 points maximum for lyrics, 10 points for melody, 5 points maximum for marketability.
  • In the event of a first-place tie, the grand prize will be awarded to the song with the highest individual score from any one judge.

Employees and board members of Common Ground on the Hill (CGOTH), along with contest judges, are not permitted to enter. Instructors who receive honoraria are not considered employees of CGOTH.

The decision of the judges is final.

Entry Form and Song Submission Fee

  • Entry and song submission fees will be accepted between February 1 - April 1, 2024.
  • The contest is open to original songs by writers who derive less than 50% of their income from songwriting. This does not include payments for live performances as an artist or singer-songwriter. The person entering the contest and all co-writers must meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Email submission to:
  • Attach an .mp3 of the song and a Word file of the lyrics to an email or include lyrics in the body of the email.
  • Include name, address and phone number for the writer making a submission.
  • List the names of any co-writers in the email.
  • Remember to remove songwriter names and personal identifiers from the .mp3 and lyric files.
  • Put CGOTH Song Contest Entry in the subject line of your email. Multiple songs may be entered, but each entry must arrive in a separate email. Entries by snail mail, overnight delivery services, etc., are not allowed.
  • The cost to enter is $25 per song. Submit fee using button below.
  • All entries and entry fees must be received by 11:59 p.m. on April 1, 2024.
  • Entry fees are not refundable, and submissions are not returnable.
  • Winners will be announced on or before April 12, 2024.
  • First prize: $300 and free tuition to any CGOTH Traditions Week music class in 2024. The winner will also have the opportunity to perform the winning song during a Traditions Week Friday evening concert (June 28 or July 12, 2024) or a mutually agreed upon evening. The winning writer or writers may have an accompanist. Other than one accompanist, others on stage must be writers on the song.
  • Second prize: $150.
  • Third prize: $75.
  • The judges may award honorable mentions as warranted.
  • Any funds left after the awarding of prizes will go to Common Ground on the Hill’s scholarship fund.

Traditions Weeks

If you've never been, you've missed out. Come join us for three weeks you're sure to remember.

Week 1

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Week 2

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