2019 Big Island Open Mic Songwriting Contest: Kona


Last night at the Kona Brew Pub, the fifth annual Big Island open mic contest drew eighteen contestants who played a diversity of styles and genres. All musicians were competing free attendance to the Hawaii Songwriting Festival’s three-day music festival/conference at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.

Scott Buchholz

The rules: sign-up at the venue, provide the judges three copies of your song’s lyrics, and perform one original song. There was no admission or entry fee, and at the end of the performances, one grand-prize winner is announced along with two runners-up. The contestant’s songs are judged on lyrics, song structure, music, and if the song’s hook is compelling.

Daniella Lopez

The panel of judges at the Kona brew Pub event featured Charles Michael Brotman, Rick Bojanowski (Soundwave Music), and Karl Kauhane (Olelo). The participants included (in order of appearance): Jeremy Payne, Brian & Kathy, Daniella Lopez, Jim Donovan, Scott Buchholz w/ Marrianne Bacon, Lukie Grey, Mike McGrath, Dick Franklin, Keoni Caravahlo, Naia Ayau, Skyla Van Zandt, Lenox Romero, Dennis Garcia, Joe Langlo, Shane Fullerton, Keoni Thompson, and Chris Wilcox.

Joe Langlo

And the winners are… Third Place,  Dick Franklin,  Second Place, Keoni Karvalo, and First Place, Skyla Van Zandt.

Listen to the podcast here:

The final open mic contest will take place at Kukuau Studio (Hilo) on Sunday May 19 at 5:30 PM.

The 17th annual Hawaii Songwriting Festival is held at the Westin Hapuna Beach Hotel on the Big Island and runs from June 20-22. If you’d like to register for the Festival, you can find the details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hawaii-songwriting-festival-2019-registration-52699975044

You can also apply for a scholarship to attend the Festival. The deadline is May 15, 2019. Details here: http://www.hawaiisongwritingfestival.com/scholarships.html.


The Hawai’i Songwriting Festival is for songwriters from all walks of life and at all levels of their careers. Come learn about the craft and business of songwriting from professional songwriters and music industry executives, develop new relationships with songwriters from around the world, and get your creative batteries charged up in a beautiful setting surrounded by people who all share your passion for music.

Registration for the three-day conference includes one non-transferrable ticket to the “Hit Makers” Concert on June 22, 2019. Kenny Loggins will be the headliner this year.

All Photos by Steve Roby


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