The Songwriters Stage has been an institutional rite of passage for Chattanooga’s emerging artists since it was created by The Camp House in 2014. In 2023 the tradition will continue at one of the liveliest spots in town, Gate 11 Distillery (1400 Market St.), hosting the four preliminary rounds on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of January and February.  The competition finale will be held on March 3rd in the superb acoustics of the new Camp House (806 E. 12th St.).

The series takes pride in the fact that competitors must sing and perform their original songs without the aid of back tracks: it is all about the songwriters’ own song, their own voice and their instrument. It is very basic and raw. Complete rules on the website.

Each round of competition has eight to ten performers with two winners each; one from the judge’s ballot and one from the audience choice. Four preliminary rounds will produce eight qualifying contestants for the finale which will produce two Grand Winners. Sponsors provide merchandise for awards along with cash awards collected from cover charges to each event. Judges are selected from the pool of previous winners and industry professionals.


Preliminary Winners: 4 events at Gate 11 Distillery

  • $50- cash
  • Radio interview on WUTC with Richard Winham
  • Mountain Music $10- Merchandise Credit
  • Gate 11 Distillery deluxe sweatshirt
  • Snap Dragon Hemp $15- Merchandise Credit (must be age 21 to claim)

Grand Prize Winners: Finale’ at The Camp House

  • $100- cash
  • Mountain Music $25- Merchandise Credit
  • Snap Dragon Hemp $25- Merchandise Credit (Must be age 21 to claim)
  • Paid Gig at Gate 11 Distillery


The order of the line up is determined by drawing numbers 10 minutes before start

Each artist will perform two songs, the 2nd song being the primary for the judge’s

Round one: Judges gather and audience ballots are gathered and counted to select four to proceed

The Four selected contestants perform one more song

Round two: Judges gather and audience ballots are gathered and counted to select two winners

JUDGING: Two winners are selected in each event: Judge’s vote and audience vote

Audience vote is by paper ballots passed out at the event. Yes, contestants may vote for themselves.

Judges use a score card based upon this rubric:

  • Lyrics: poetic qualities, meaningful
  • Instrumental quality
  • Lyrics and music combination
  • Vocal delivery
  • Stage presence
  • Judge’s subjective preference

ENTRY FORM: No longer open for 2023

Entry form consists of two sections: 1- Private information; name and contact 2- Public information to be posted on the website and used for promotions: professional name, short bio (100 words to introduce yourself), link to your website or other online space such as Instagram, link to a sample of your music


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