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“Music for Changing Times: Looking Back/Moving Forward” National Songwriting Competition

April 22, 2017 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Co-sponsors Music2Life and Rubicon Theatre Company are seeking songwriters between the ages of 18-38 to enter “Music for Changing Times: Looking Back/Moving Forward” National Songwriting Competition as part of a weeklong festival of musical events, May 8-13 at Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. Curated by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary and Liz Sunde of Music2Life, 10 finalists’ songs will be chosen from submissions and performed in concert for audiences and a panel of esteemed music professionals on May 11. Prizes include four cash prizes ranging from $1000 to $5000, free master classes with top music professionals and the opportunity to perform onstage with Noel Paul Stookey, Peter Yarrow and other legacy artists in the Music for Changing Times Benefit Concert on Saturday, May 13.


The Top 10 finalists will have a chance to win from six prizes:


First Place Award

$3,000 cash prize

Onstage featured number in the “Music for Changing Times” Saturday night concert onstage with Noel Paul Stookey, Peter Yarrow and other legacy artists. 


Second Place Award

$2,000 cash prize

Inclusion in “Music for Changing Times” Saturday night closing number


Third Place Award

$1,000 cash prize

Inclusion in “Music for Changing Times” Saturday night closing number


Special Activist Artist Award

Presented through Music2Life’s new Artist Activist Fund to an individual in the Top 10 with a unique vision for how to use their song to affect social change.

$5,000 cash prize to use towards implementing your vision

Consulting and promotional support from Music2Life in making the winner’s vision a reality

Inclusion in “Music for Changing Times” Saturday night closing number


Folk Fest Award

Presented by and Santa Barbara Music Foundation to the top artist in the genres of Folk, Americana, Gospel, Roots, Country or Bluegrass.

Featured slot in Topa Topa Folk Fest in Ojai, California on October 7, 2017

Accommodations in Ojai for the weekend at The Lavender Inn Bed and Breakfast


Audience Choice Award

Special Engraved Crystal Plaque from Custom Awards and Engraving



In order to qualify, songwriters must be between the ages of 18 to 38, and must be able to be present in Ventura if selected as one of the Top 10 finalists for rehearsal and performance on Thursday, May 11. Applicants must also be available for the Saturday evening concert on May 13. All music genres accepted and considered for all awards (except the Folk Fest Award). Those who complete the application are invited to observe the Master Class on Wednesday, May 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with Noel Paul Stookey, Dan Wheetman and other professionals. At the judges’ discretion, up to five artists will be invited from the submissions to participate onstage. Each Top 10 finalist will receive a pair of complimentary tickets for the Thursday, May 11, 7:00 p.m. “Songs for Changing Times National Songwriting Competition Finals Top 10 Concert” in which they will perform. Winners (except for the Audience Choice Award-winner) will be pre-selected by the judges, whose decision is final. The Special Artist Activist Award-winner will be selected from the Top 10 and may also be the First, Second or Third Place recipient.


How to Apply

Please UPLOAD an audio download (MP3) of a single song that best represents your area of social concern and a lyric sheet (best audio quality you can manage, but no need for studio recording). Complete the online application form by going to APPLICATION FORM. This form will ask you for contact and song information, a short biography, a standard release/waiver and provide you with a link for the $20 enrollment fee. Create a 1-2 minute “selfie” video of your music-driven concept, story and/or project. Include name, city and answers to the following questions listed below. (Please speak clearly; if you feel it will be helpful, in addition to the video, you may submit these answers in writing).

•             What is the area of social concern that moves you?

•             What is the story you are trying to tell through your music (or particular song)?

•             To be considered for the Activist Artist Award, please also tell us how you are using (or how would you like to use) your music/song to make change happen in your community. Please include the group or organization you’d like to connect with or are currently connected with, if applicable.

•             Please read the full competition rules and sign the release form/waiver. You agree that we may use your image or likeness, and submitted video and audio. You retain all other rights in and to your music. You also sign a general liability waiver related to your presence and performance at the event.



Applications and submissions must be received by 5 p.m. PST Saturday, April 22. The Top 10 applicants will be notified by April 28. If a Top 10 applicant is unable to participate in the finals for any reason, the next highest-scoring applicant will be invited to attend and participate.


Application Review Team

Five-time Grammy Award-winner Noel Paul Stookey of folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary (who will lead the panel of esteemed professional judges), 2017 Kennedy Center Honors Recipient Timothy B. Schmit of The Eagles and Poco, Tony nominee and L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award-winner Dan Wheetman of Marley’s Ghost and Music Agent Ira Goldenring of Paradigm Talent Agency. Other adjudicators will be announced by Friday, April 7 on the Rubicon Theatre website.


April 22, 2017
8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Rubicon Theatre
1006 East Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001 United States
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(805) 667-2900