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The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is an event that is presented by MerleFest and provides songwriters with the chance to have their original songs evaluated by a panel consisting of experienced composers and other individuals from the Nashville music business. At the end of each year’s MerleFest, the finals are performed on the Austin Stage. In addition to that, the winner of first place will be awarded a performance slot on the Cabin Stage at MerleFest, in addition to additional awards. The singer and composer Jim Lauderdale, who has won a Grammy┬«, is volunteering his time to chair the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Winners from the recent past have included people like Gillian Welch, Tift Merritt, Michael Reno Harrell, Adrienne Young, and Martha Scanlan.

The Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship will be funded using the earnings from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, which is held at Wilkes Community College.

Chris Austin was a singer and composer who was tragically died in a private jet accident in the mountains outside San Diego, California, along with six other members of Reba McEntire’s band and her tour manager. Austin was originally from Boone, North Carolina. In honor of his accomplishments, MerleFest holds this competition.

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