Songwriting Competition Logo

Friends of New River Gorge National River has launched its first-ever songwriting competition to honor the milestone “birthdays” of the National Parks of Southern West Virginia this year. Songwriters from West Virginia and beyond are invited to write and submit an original song inspired by some aspect of New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River and/or Gauley River National Recreation Area. Submissions are due by June 26, 2018.

The competition will conclude with a public performance by the top ten submissions at the Historic Fayette Theater in Fayetteville, West Virginia on Saturday, July 28, 2018. Attendees at the event will vote for their top three favorites, and winners could receive up to a $250 cash prize for their song. All musical styles are encouraged to participate!


1st Place: $250

2nd Place: $100

3rd Place: $50


  1. Competition is open to anyone currently residing in the United States, of any age.
  2. Song submissions must be 100% original content, written by the performer(s) for the purpose of the competition.
  3. Song must relate to either a) one, all, or some of the New, Gauley, and Bluestone rivers, or b) appropriate references to a river that might be one, all, or some of the aforementioned three.
  4. Song can be written in any style, but performer(s) must keep in mind that if selected as a finalist, there will be a limited set-up focused more on vocals, acoustic instruments, and instruments needing to be run directly into a sound system. For example, you may submit a recording with a full band (i.e. two guitar players, a drummer with full kit, a bass player, etc), but if you arrive to compete as a finalist with a full band, you will NOT be allowed to perform in that arrangement. Arrangements with final performers will be made in advance with the competition host (Friends) as to prevent such a situation.
  5. Performance at the finale, if selected, must be by songwriter(s).
  6. The online submission form with a digital recording of the song (in high quality .mp3 or .wav format) must be submitted by 11:59 PM ET on June 26, 2018. No submissions will be accepted after that time. You will be notified via email by July 9, 2018, if you were or were not selected as a top 10 finalist.
  7. Judging for selections to be placed in the final event will be based upon these factors: uniqueness/originality, lyrics, melody, performance, and overall appeal. Judging at the final event will be based on votes by the audience in attendance, and an online poll.
  8. Upon submission, you agree that if selected as a finalist, you will be available to perform in the showcase at the Historic Fayette Theater in Fayetteville, WV, on July 28, 2018, and be available to be present from 5:00pm onward for check-in, sound check, performance, and awards.
  9. Upon submission, you agree to allow your song to be used for promotional purposes, including, but not limited to, promotional video soundtracking, public performance, and digital distribution for fundraising. You also agree for your song to be remastered for quality purposes. Audio mastering is defined here as the process of taking an audio recording and adjusting factors such as volume for purpose of distribution.
  10. You also agree for your likeness to be used for promotional purposes, including but not limited to audio interviews and written articles.
  11. All decision of the judges will be final. It will be at the individual judges’ discretion whether or not to disclose decisions with any person.
  12. Contestants will not hold Friends of New River Gorge National River, New River Gorge National River, the performance venue, and participating sponsors, as well as any other person involved in this contest liable for any injury or damage, real or perceived.

Ready to register? Click here!