Songwriting Contest


Only entries submitted according to the rules and guidelines will be considered.

Categories: Country, Gospel/Inspirational, Pop/Rock, Bluegrass, Folk, Lyrics Only

Registration Fee: First Song Entry - $20 ($10 each additional entry)

Each entrant will receive (2) two-day ticket passes to the Richard Leigh Songwriters Festival ($50 value), one festival t-shirt and a festival program. Please select a t-shirt size on entry form.


  • Overall Winner: $300
  • 1st Place in each category: $100
  • 2nd Place in each category: $50

The songwriting contest is open to anyone who writes original music and who is not currently signed to a recording or publishing contract.

Rules and Guidelines

  • Contestants may submit up to three original songs.
  • Contestants cannot be signed to a major label or publishing contract. This competition is for emerging and independent songwriters.
  • Entrant acknowledges and agrees to perform in the Top 20 Song Performance and Awards Finale on Friday night the May 23 at the Richard Leigh Songwriters Festival. There is no performance for the Lyrics only category. The winners of all categories will be announced before Richard Leigh’s performance Saturday night, May 24 at the Richard Leigh Songwriters Festival.
  • All entries must be received, not postmarked, by Friday, May 9. No deadline extensions. No exceptions.
  • Time Limit: 5 minutes or less per song. Points will be deducted for exceeding this limit.
  • Entry constitutes entered song is an original and Entrant holds rights to the song and releases the Richard Leigh Songwriters Festival, VHCC and the VHCC Educational Foundation, Inc. from any and all liability to the contrary.
  • Finalist will be notified on, Friday, May 16.
  • Paid performers for the Richard Leigh Songwriters Festival may not participate.
  •  Please include a lyric sheet with your submission.
  • All decisions of the judges are final. CDs and lyrics will not be returned.


  • Send a CD (no cassette tapes) with the songs/tracks for consideration clearly specified.
  • Limit three songs per person.
  • Recordings will not be returned.
  • Mail or drop off your CD, typed lyrics and an entry form to: VHCC Educational Foundation, Attn: Songwriters Contest, P.O. Box 828, Abingdon, VA, 24210

Indemnity and Release

Signature on entry form constitutes each song submitted is an original work and releases the Virginia Highlands Community College Foundation, Virginia Highlands Community College and the Richard Leigh Songwriters Festival from all liability. Entry also constitutes permission to use the winner's name and likeness for future advertising and publicity without further permission or compensation.

Entry Form

Complete the Songwriters Competition Entry Form All entries must be submitted with a signed entry form and follow the rules and guidelines of the contest.