Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest

The 2024 award-winning Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest encourages the growth of the art of independent performing songwriters in the genres of Americana, Blues, Celtic, Country, Folk, Rock, Pop, Rap, Jazz, Bluegrass, etc. For over 20 years the contest has created an experience for finalists that provides networking opportunities amongst some of the top songwriters in the nation, live performances at the festival over the course of the weekend, and the chance to be a part of an historical experience.  Previous contest finalists include Ruthie Foster, Beth Wood, Karen Mal, Grace Pettis, Dave Carter, Louise Mosrie, BettySoo, Matt Harlan, Nicolette Good, RJ Cowdery, Drew Kennedy, Matthew Thomas and Tom Faulkner. Judging is based on originality, lyrics, melody, harmonic structure, and other song-craft elements. 

Al Johnson

How to Enter

  • Complete the online application through Broadjam (please read contest rules before applying)
  • $30 entry fee
  • Two songs are required per entry fee

The deadline to apply was February 29, 2024. 

Prize Package(s) Include

  • First Place/Grand Prize – $1,000
  • Second Place Runner Up – $500
  • People’s Choice Award – $500
  • One-year premium membership to Broadjam (valued at $200) to each of the top 3 finalists
SSW Contest Winners

2024 Finalist

Contest Rules

  • Contestants are required to enter two original songs. (Entries containing only one song, or more than two songs will be disqualified).
  • Participants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Recordings submitted must be representative of the artist’s live performance and include only one instrument, one voice (the songwriter’s vocal), and no backup harmonies.
  • Produced recordings or instrumental-only songs are NOT accepted.
  • Co-written songs are accepted; however, only one of the writers may submit an application and perform the song on the recording.
  • The artist’s name, biographical information, or credits cannot be included in the recordings.
  • By entering the contest, the songwriter certifies they have all rights to the songs and that the songs have not been sold or contractually assigned to another entity.
  • Songs that have been previously recorded and released under contract on a label are NOT
  • Each song must NOT exceed five (5) minutes.
  • As a finalist, you must perform the two (2) songs submitted in the contest. You may choose to perform solo or invite a single accompanist, however the performance can only include one instrument, one voice (the songwriter’s vocal) and no backup harmonies.
  • Prior to the contest, finalists may not appear on any stage at the festival with any other artist(s) booked for the festival.
  • A total of ten finalists will be selected and invited to perform in the finals at Wildflower! on May 18, 2024, an additional set on the CityLine Stage, and if selected as a winner a chance to play a set in the round on May 19, 2024 on the Singer Songwriter Stage.

        Top Ten Finalists Receive

        • Invitation to perform in the live finals on the Singer Songwriter Stage at Wildflower! on May 18, 2024. Finalists must perform the two (2) songs submitted in the contest and the performance may only include one instrument, one voice (the songwriter’s vocal), and no backup harmonies.
        • Lodging for May 17 and 18 and green room hospitality
        • Wildflower! festival passes for you and a guest
        • Additional set at Wildflower! festival on the Courtyard Stage
        • If selected as a winner, a chance to play a set in the round on May 19 on the Singer Songwriter Stage.
        • Opportunity of a lifetime to spend a weekend, sharing songs with some of the best performing songwriters in the nation and if selected as a winner, participation in the Winner’s Showcase with the other selected winners.

        Fair Screening Process

        •  All entries are subjected to a blind and independent screening by experienced music promoters, performers, songwriters, educators and those familiar with original songwriting and performing techniques.
        • The screeners score and rank entries independently and the top ten finalists are selected based on those scores and ranks to compete at the Festival.
        • The contest is a performing songwriting contest. The entries will be judged based on the quality of the songs (50%) and the artist’s presentation/performance of the songs (50%).

        Click here to view a history of contest winners.