2019 Big Island Open Mic Songwriting Contest: Waimea


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

The rules were simple: 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.

Hosting last night’s event was former contestant winner Rachael Scott, and the panel of judges included Maelan Abran, Karl Kasberg, and Chase Kauhane. The participants included (in order of appearance): Dick Franklin, Jason Madrid, Dagan Bernstein, Kieran Najith, Dan Greene, Jan Espere, Joey (last name not given), Keoni Thompson and George Witt, Selah Solt, Victor Solt, Elijah Solt, Forest Horwalt, Lenox Romero, Marriane Bacon, Teresa Young, Jim Donovan, Hannah Kaplon, Robert Savery, Tanner Scott, Lopaka Rootz, and Blake Johnson.

And the winners are… First Place – tie: Selah Solt and Keoni Thompson. Second Place – tie: Dagan Bernstein and Robert Savery.

Listen to the podcast here:

The next open mic contests will take place at the Kona Brew Pub on Thursday May 16 at 6:30 PM., and in Hilo 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

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.

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.

About HSF

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.

Featured image of contest winners and judges by Steve Roby. Left to right: Dagan Bernstein, Selah Solt, Chase Kauhane, Maelan Abran, and Keoni Thompson.


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