Do you have something to say and a way to say it so that people want to listen to it?  Unless you get out and you try to do it, you’ll never know.

The 2020 Songwriting Contest will open on October 1, 2020.

The Songwriting Showcase will be held during the Red Lodge Songwriter Festival on Saturday June 20, at 9 am – 12 pm at the Historic Roman Theater. It is open to the public so please attend and support your favorite songwriter.

The Red Lodge Songwriting Contest is uniquely designed to offer these opportunities for songwriters. It benefits every songwriter who participates.

The Red Lodge Songwriter Festival is accepting a hundred (100) songs  to be judged by some of Nashville’s best hit writers and music experts. The twenty (20) best written songs and their writers will have the opportunity to perform their songs live on  stage at the Historic Roman Theater at the Songwriting Contest Showcase on Saturday June 20, 2020. The top songwriter will play Saturday night, opening for the Nashville Hit Songwriters,  and the four runner-ups will play at Lion’s Park on Saturday afternoon. 

We will be accepting song submissions beginning October 1, 2019 and ending April 1, 2020. The finalists will be notified on April 15, 2020.

Why enter the 2020 Red Lodge Songwriting Contest?

  • You’ll have opportunities to be recognized as a finalist and possibly the Grand Prize Winner of the Red Lodge Songwriting Contest Showcase, and invited back in 2021 as a paid Rising Star songwriter.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to get your songs heard and evaluated by Nashville music-industry professionals.
  • You’ll have opportunities to advance your songwriting.
  • Opportunity to perform in front of a live audience at the Songwriting Contest Showcase.
  • Your song will be posted on our website.
  • Five of last years showcase finalists were invited to play as Rising Stars at the 2020 festivals.


    • This year’s grand prize winner will receive a Recording King Guitar. 
    • The grand prize winner will also receive an invitation to perform at the 2021 6th Annual Red Lodge Songwriter Festival as a Rising Star Songwriter.
    • The grand prize and 2nd place songwriter will have the opportunity open the show before the Nashville Hit Songwriters on Saturday, June 20, 2020.
    • 3rd, 4th and 5th place songwriters will play in the afternoon on, Saturday June 20, 2020 at Lions Park.


  • The contest is open to songwriters who are 18 years of age or older on the date of song submission. Any entrant who is a minor in his or her jurisdiction of legal residence will be required to obtain and submit written permission from his or her parent or legal guardian to participate in the contest.
  • Employees and board members of Red Lodge Songwriter Festival, their families, subsidiaries, and affiliates are not eligible.
  • For the purposes of the competition, a song must have both lyrics and music. All submitted songs must be original, unpublished (or self-published) songs that have been written or co-written by the entrant(s).
  • For competition purposes, an unpublished song is defined as being recorded and self-released by the entrant(s) and/or not co-published by a commercially active music publisher.
  • Co-writers are subject to the same eligibility criteria.
  • Past grand prize winners of the Red Lodge Songwriting Contest are not eligible to enter the contest. All other previous entrants and finalists are eligible.
  • Artists from anywhere in the world are eligible to enter.


A total of twenty (20) finalists will be selected to perform in the live performance showcase of the 2020 Red Lodge Songwriter Festival Contest Finals, held on Saturday June 20, 2020 at the Historic Roman Theater in beautiful Red Lodge, Montana. The finalists will be selected from their mp3 audio submissions by a panel of judges. Each finalist will perform their submitted songs to a panel of music industry judges.


    • The finals this year will be held in beautiful Red Lodge Montana on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at the Historic Roman Theater in conjunction with the 5th Annual Red Lodge Songwriter Festival.
    • The top twenty (20) finalists songwriters will be notified by April  15, 2020
    • Twenty (20) finalists will be selected from advance online song entries, and invited to compete, network and perform at the showcase.
    •  From the showcase performance, judges will  select an overall winner and places two through five.
    • The grand prize and 2nd place songwriter will have the opportunity open the show before the Nashville Hit Songwriters on Saturday, June 20, 2020.
    • Places 3rd through 5th will play  in Lions Park on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm before a live audience.


Judges for our songwriting contest are music industry professionals. Our judges use a consistent set of standards which the judges use to make impartial decisions as to the merits of the song. We strive to make sure that the judging is fair and follows our mission of supporting and encouraging songwriters.


  • The song has a clear theme or cohesive idea
  • The song has clearly identifiable sections, verse, chorus, etc.
  • The song is between 2 to 5 minutes


  • The lyrics evoke an emotional response from the listener
  • The lyrics are singable and memorable
  • The lyrics have an identifiable rhyme scheme or pattern


  • The music and melody adds to the emotional impact of the song
  • The music keeps the listener interested and engaged
  • The music and lyrics fit together in a cohesive way


  • The song expresses the theme in a new or fresh way
  • The song is memorable
  • The song has commercial potential


  • Per Song:  $20


  • Each entry must be an original, unpublished musical composition (“composition”) for which the contestant retains the copyright and authority to submit and perform the composition in the contest. Payment for each composition entered in the contest must be made at the time of submission. Red Lodge Songwriter Festival Inc. is not responsible and disclaims any liability for late, lost, damaged, misdirected, postage due, stolen, or misappropriated entries or for any errors in online submissions, including, but not limited to unsuccessful file uploads. Materials submitted will not be returned and Red Lodge Songwriter Festival Inc. reserves the right to dispose of all submitted material in any manner.
  • All songs will be posted on our website
  • We will accept song submissions beginning October 1, 2019 and ending April 1st, 2020.


  • Songs must be submitted electronically in a mp3 file format with lyrics sheet in pdf format. Email songs and lyrics to
  • Song must be paid for in advance sing our online payment portal.
  • Songs will be posted on our website once we’ve received payment. You can make your payment by clicking the button below.
  • Email any questions or requests for for information to:


  • The top twenty (20) finalists songwriters will be notified by April 15, 2020
  • Selected finalists will be notified by email and each winner must provide the following items to be eligible to compete in the Red Lodge Songwriting Contest Showcase:

(a) that the finalists meets the contest eligibility requirements,

(b) that his or her composition is original and unpublished, and

(c) that he or she owns the copyright in the composition;

Red Lodge Songwriter Festival Inc. retains the exclusive right to use in perpetuity any media inclusive of ancillary rights created in conjunction with the Red Lodge Songwriter Festival Inc. including but not limited to; live recordings, video, webisodes, and photographs. Participants grant Red Lodge Songwriter Festival Inc. the use of this archival material in perpetuity.


This contest is void where prohibited. All federal, state, and local laws, regulations, rules, and ordinances apply.

  • Entries must be original songs.
  • Submissions are not subject to a time limit. But if you are selected as one of our twenty finalists, your live performance of one original songs on the finals showcase stage must meet a strict five (5) minute limit.
  • The song MUST be performed by the song contest entrant. Songs that have been recorded with more than one backing musician can be submitted — for example, sending in a cut from a CD with multiple players. But remember, should you advance and perform live, you will only be allowed one backing musician on stage. This accompanist may play an instrument(s) and/or sing backup.
  • Co-written songs may be submitted, but the person who enters the song must be the one who is the lead singer of the tune.
  • IMPORTANT POINT: Though co-writers will be acknowledged, only the performer of the song can qualify to win a prize.
  • The writer(s) retains all rights to submitted songs.

We want to give songwriters a chance to have their music heard. We’re believers in creativity, chasing dreams and getting the chance to pursue your passion. We know it takes courage, conviction and passion to pursue your music and find your purpose. So what’s stopping you?