Songwriting Competitions

A line drawing of a pegasus in flight

Every year since 1986, OVFF has held at least one songwriting competition in order to encourage the creation of new songs and increase the number of active song writers in the Filk community. That, and it’s a lot of fun! This year we are again holding two contests.


Traditional Song Contest, Topic- Future So Bright…

1st: Luke Bretscher—Optimism Song
2nd: Gabrielle Gold—Not If But When
3rd: Michael Stein—Betelgeuse
Audience Choice: Cecilia Eng—As We Run Toward Our Future

Iron Filker Contest, Topic- Kaboom!

1st: Dave Stagner—Exploding Whales
2nd: Beth Kinderman—Pressure
3rd: Douglas Davidson—There Was Supposed to Have Been a Kaboom
Audience Choice: Beth Kinderman—Pressure

Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to everyone who participated!

Contest Rules

  1. The songs can be original lyrics and music OR new lyrics to existing music.
  2. Entries in the traditional song contest should be new material of limited distribution written within the previous year (special rules for 2021- song can be from any time after OVFF of 2019, but cannot have been entered in 2020). Entries in the second contest must be written at the convention.
  3. Songs are to be performed in front of a live audience for a panel of three judges.
  4. Songs are judged on the quality of the writing–not on the strength of the performance.
  5. An Audience Choice award is also voted on by the entire audience.
  6. If the songwriter is not a performer, the entry may be performed by a friend. (Please note that the songwriter must be in attendance at the convention in order to enter.)
  7. Please bring four (4) copies of your song for the judges OR email a copy of the lyrics to and notify programming staff in the main concert room at least 1 hour prior to the contest OR bring them on a flash drive to programming staff in the main concert room at least one hour prior to the contest.

(A PDF file of the scoring sheet used by the judges can be found here.)


Signup sheets will be made available Friday evening at the opening of the convention on a first come, first served basis. The number of entries permitted may be limited, so be sure to sign up early. Sign-up ends 1 hour before the contest starts. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled slot to perform.

If you have any questions as to the appropriateness of the entry, contact us (or, for Iron Filker questions, please seek out an OVFF concom member).

Our congratulations go out to the winners of previous competitions!