2018 Tucson Folk Festival
Stefan George Memorial Songwriting Competition
SATURDAY, MAY 5: NOON to 2 PM – WILDFLOWER STAGE
(NEW LOCATION: El Presidio Park -SE Corner in grassy area)
SATURDAY, MAY 5: 6 PM – PLAZA STAGE
Dedicated to TKMA’s friend and
2013 Tucson Folk Festival Headliner Stefan George
2018 Songwriting Finalists!
Ten finalists (chosen from a field that typically is more than 40) will each perform two original songs for the Folk Festival audience and a panel of judges that includes fellow songwriters. Contestants will be evaluated on originality & uniqueness, song structure & arrangement, and talent & stage presence.
Shawn Dennehy is a bandleader, songwriter, guitar player and lead vocalist of “Lucky Lenny”, an Americana string band. Shawn grew up in Tucson and now resides in Flagstaff with his wife and daughter. Shawn recently graduated from NAU with a degree in Anthropology/Archaeology.
Mark Holdaway is a dynamic multi-instrumentalist and kalimba wizard living in Tucson, AZ whose songwriting captures the essence and emotion of human transformation. He has been writing songs for 20 years, and is excited for his first appearance in the TKMA Songwriting Contest. You can find Mark at the folk festival and around Tucson performing in the music groups WomanSong, Baba Marimba, and Infinite Flame.
Helen Hudson has been writing and performing for 40 years. In 1990 she made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the first person to sing the national anthem at every major league baseball stadium. She moved to Tucson to write songs and is working on a new CD with Phil Keaggy in Nashville.
Joyce Luna blends beautiful soulful singing with poetic song-writing. She balances a romantic streak with a belief music can change the world. She has released her first solo CD, “Every Road We Take”, co-produced by Ryan David Green & Stuart Oliver.
Carol Markstrom is a three-time nominated Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists. She recently released her third album, “Desert Rose” with co-writer and Grammy-winning producer Bil VornDick. Her songs are played on radio programs and podcasts world-wide.
Stuart Oliver, founder of Old Bisbee Records, Georgia-born Stuart Oliver is a multi-instrumentalist and Billboard-charting professional songwriter. After moving to Tucson, Arizona in 2006, Oliver found success booking The Hut from 2006-2008 and producing artists such as Silver Thread Trio and the Dusty Buskers. He has toured internationally and now performs with several local acts, including his Cosmic-Americana band, The Desert Angels.
Sophia Rankin is an eighteen-year-old Tucson songwriter attending UA. She released her debut album “Reverie” in 2016. Her song “Goodbye” won first place in the high school division at the Tucson Desert Songwriting Festival — she considers this her greatest accomplishments to date.
Mike P. Ryan has a keen eye for detail and comes from humble roots – he uses this combination to help him write songs about every-day people and events. He is a natural raconteur and an instant hit with audiences. Mike was a finalist at the “New Folk” competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival.
Eric Schaffer grew up in New Jersey and now calls Tucson his home. He performs throughout the U.S. and is the front man for his band “The Other Troublemakers”. He and wife Carol Schaffer are a songwriting team known for thoughtful lyrics and smooth melodies.
Dan Weber is a storyteller and performer. He was the first place winner at the Winfield NewSong contest for his tribute to Woody Guthrie. He is a three-time finalist in the Kerrville New Folk contest. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott once said, “I love Dan’s songs and he tells really good stories.”
UPDATES: Unfortunately, the following Songwriting Finalists are unable to participate in our songwriting competition. Per TKMA rules, pre-selected alternates will fill these slots:
Kevin T. Hale: Mark Holdaway will fill Kevin’s slot.
Amber Ikeman: Stuart Oliver will fill Amber’s slot.
$100 Cash Award
Free Registration to 2019 Folk Alliance International Conference
3 Free Song Submissions to Passport to Nashville program
25-Minute Set on the Plaza Stage Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 6 pm
$50 Cash Award
$50 Gift Card from Bookmans Entertainment Exchange