The First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest is scheduled! Soon song submissions will open. And you can still help plan it.
Starting soon (date to be announced) through Sunday May 13
Finalists will be announced Saturday May 19, 2018.
The Contest: 1-5PM, Saturday, June 23, 2018
Where: Community Center, Cedar Key, Florida, with food and beverages
What: Finalists will play, sponsors will be acknowledged, and judges will award prizes.
What to submit: Lyrics and sound (mp3) about any river, creek, spring, sink, swamp, or pond in the Suwannee River Basin (except not the Santa Fe River nor creeks, sinks, etc. on it, because it has its own contest). Nature, people, or events, are all good. Songs must contain lyrics, and be no longer than four minutes. Songs will be judged on showing the integrity and value of the waters. Extra credit for naming the most rivers (springs, etc.). Even listing them like Tom Lehrer’s Elements song counts; tying them together in a way that shows their value is even better. Bands of more than one musician are OK. All finalists be prepared to show up early for sound check. You must be present to win. However, you do not have to sing your own song: you can have somebody else do that for you.
Genres: The Committee decided to invite submissions from every genre on this extensive list of music genres, from Art Punk to Zydeco. Hip hop, K-pop, rock, reggae, R&B, and solo cello classical are all invited, among many others, including of course folk and country. If there is only one finalist in a genre, that entry will win a prize for that genre. You can even sing a capella, and if you’re really brave, maybe recite poetry. But remember that while lyrics are the most important aspect, music counts, so playing an instrument would be good.
What not to submit: Explicit lyrics (vulgar or violent) will not be accepted. Avoid politics (as in partisan politics; issues are fine) or religion. While we’d be hard put to reject Robert Johnson’s Crossroads (if it mentioned one of our rivers), it is just a tad religious. And please don’t just cover somebody else’s song: while Ray Charles’ Swanee River Rock is nice, the lyrics were already known. Avoid things that don’t exist here: no crocodiles, no flamingos. The pelicans at Cedar Key noted they are OK for singing.
How to submit: Ready to submit a song? Well, soon, the Committee is still working out the details.
Before the event: Submissions will be narrowed down to half a dozen or so, in two categories: from within the Suwannee River Basin, and from elsewhere. Remember, Stephen C. Foster never saw the Suwannee, so you don’t have to live here to submit a song. If you do live here, you probably can sing a story about your favorite spring, outing, bird, fish, people, etc.
Sponsors: Names of sponsors will be included in our extensive promotion of the contest, so sponsoring the contest is a great way to get your organization or personal name out, through donation of prizes, items for a silent auction, food for the event, a venue for the contestants to play afterwards, or cash. Contact WWALS if you want to sponsor, or stay tuned for more about how to sponsor.
The event: Finalists will perform live, sponsors will be acknowledged, and judges will decide. Contestants and especially winners will get prizes. Food, song, sunshine, and a fine time. Do you want to be a judge, or suggest who should be? Let us know.
Format: We are shamelessly copying the long-running Our Santa Fe River Songwriting Contest, which we recommend you also attend. The rivers are different, and the winners will get prizes. We are modifying the format because our rivers are many. Also, Cedar Key is far to go and people love any reason to stay there for a weekend. We are considering a paddle outing the next day.
On hardship duty Sunday, February 25, 2018, at 83 West on the Gulf in Cedar Key (actually upstairs at 29 North), the WWALS Songwriting Contest Committee had record attendance: Anna White Hodges, Eileen Box (Chair), Teri LaBrecque (first time), Scotti Jay, Sara Squires, and John S. Quarterman, plus Anna White Hodges joined WWALS on the spot and the board later added her to the committee.
Mike Hodges wanted to be clear he was not joining the committee, and Gretchen Quarterman took these pictures and vamoosed, saying she was on enough committees. We hear Mike may be the incoming president of the Lions Club, fifty years after his father was its first president. Gretchen a few days later sent in the form and check for the Community Center rental.
The next WWALS Songwriting Contest Committee meeting is Sunday, March 4, by teleconference, since members now live three hours apart. You can still apply to join the committee, and there will be many other ways you can help.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!