2021 Tucson Folk Festival
Stefan George Memorial Songwriting Competition
FINALIST SHOW – SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 2021: 6 PM to 9:30 PM
Monterey Court – 505 W Miracle Mile, Tucson, AZ 85705
All Proceeds Benefit the 36th Annual Tucson Folk Festival. Thank you to our 2021 Songwriting Competition Sponsor – Bookmans Entertainment Exchange.
The finalist performances will be recorded and re-broadcast during the festival on April 10 from the Centennial Hall Stage.
This year’s finalists include both notable Tucson songwriters as well as performers traveling in from out-of-state! Finalists include: Eric Cunningham, Jane Fallon, Mark Febbo with Oscar Fuentes, Jerry Green with Annie Sorrells, Sandy Hathaway, Mark Iler with Jess McKeegan, Lauren Lawson, Eric Schaffer, T Greg Squires, and Alicia Stockman.
Thank you to our 2021 Stefan George Memorial Songwriting Competition Sponsor – Bookmans Entertainment Exchange!
The Stefan George Memorial Songwriting Competition is a beloved part of the festival each year – a chance for established and emerging songwriters to share new insights, new songs inspired by the times, and play for an audience that is hanging on every lyric. Each year, dozens of entrants compete for 10 spots in the finalist showcase at the Tucson Folk Festival. The winner of this showcase receives a coveted evening slot at the Saturday night festival.
Each year, a 1st Place, 2nd Place, and 3rd Place winner are decided by a panel of judges considering the performers’ originality and uniqueness, song structures and arrangement, talent, and general stage presence.
- 1st PLACE | $100 Cash Award, Free Registration to 2021 Folk Alliance International Conference, 25-Minute Set on the Drive In Stage at Park Place Mall on Saturday, April 10 at 6 pm, Bookmans Gift Card
- RUNNER-UP | $50 Cash Award, Bookmans Gift Card
- 3rd PLACE | TKMA T-Shirt and Cap, Bookmans Gift Card
Jane (Ross) Fallon, Dunedin, Florida
Jane is a performer whose smooth, rich voice and well-written songs get noticed. She has 6 CD’s and three books to her credit and recently won first place in the nationally known American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Contest. Additional songwriting wins include the Woody Guthrie Songwriting Competition in Oklahoma and the South Florida Festival Songwriting Competition.
Mark Iler, Olympia, Washington
Mark started playing Guitar in the 5th Grade and by the time he was 17, he was performing in the pubs and bars in and around the Detroit area. He has played music in almost every State, continues to do so and loves every minute of it!
Eric Cunningham, Tucson, Arizona
Eric is originally from San Diego, CA. He writes music in a fun, laid back, yet expressive style. Having traveled extensively he uses a blend of world music and classic singer-songwriter folk to tell a story. Eric currently plays in the band Baja Caravan: www.bajacaravanband.com.
T. Greg Squires, Tucson, Arizona
T. Greg started writing songs when he was 14 years old on the gut-string guitar he still owns. His songs vary in style and substance ranging from somber to sublime, and his lyrics encompass emotions that are bone-deep. He has also written and arranged for jazz bands, theatre, and dance.
Alicia Stockman, Heber City, Utah
Alicia endears her audiences through memories, experiences, and stories. Her songs are intimate moments, meant to draw listeners in and leave them hanging on every word. Strong rhythm guitar, creative yet tasteful phrasing, and soulful sweet vocals bring the experience full circle.
Mark Anthony Febbo, Tucson, Arizona
Mark was one of the 10 finalists in the 2019 Stefan George Memorial Songwriting Contest and has been playing music in Tucson since 2001. He is the former frontman and songwriter for the now defunct band, Clam Tostada. Mark’s newest album, Dry River Redemption, co-produced by Oscar Fuentes, was released in Feb. 2020.
Sandy Hathaway, Chandler, Arizona
Sandy’s outstanding presentation and musical insight draw her audience into a world of creative wonder. Her songs reach back in time and deliver stories that touch the heart. Sandy’s live performances are filled with emotion and expression. This is her 4th time in the top ten of the Tucson Folk Festival’s songwriting contest. Sandy won 2nd place in the 2017 WVCMA songwriting contest.
Lauren Lawson, Tucson, Arizona
Lauren is a Tucson singer-songwriter. She plays acoustic guitar and ukulele and won a Judges Pick in the Passport to Nashville songwriting competition. She was a winner in the Toptunes.Rocks Competition and made the top 10 of Oro Valley’s Got Talent. Her latest EP “Every Little Thing” is streaming on all platforms.
Eric Schaffer, Tucson, Arizona
Eric is a 3-time finalist in the Tucson Folk Festival songwriting competition, a finalist in the Passport to Nashville songwriting competition and a semi-finalist in the Great American Songwriting Contest. He can be seen playing throughout Southern Arizona with his band, The Other Troublemakers. www.theothertroublemakers.com
Annie Sorrells & Jerry Green, Phoenix, Arizona
Annie Sorrells and Jerry Green are Phoenix-based songwriters who perform solo and as the duo, “The Lost Earbuds”. You can catch them at music festivals, camps, and conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more info, check out their websites and be sure to follow @airstreamingannie, “The Singing Airstream” on Instagram.
Syndenn Sweet, Brian Hanner, and Michael Markowitz
The Tucson Folk Festival songwriting competition began in the early 2000s by a passionate group of songwriters and performers. Today, the competition is in tribute to one of those founders, Stefan George.
Noted for his outstanding songwriting, Stefan George had a passion for music that drove him to excel in virtually every musical endeavor he set his sights upon. And there were many, even within the confines of our so-called folk music festival where he played with so many different ensembles and configurations including the String Trotters, Arm and Hammer, White-bread, Songtower, BK Special, Four Corners, the Ditchriders and, of course, under his own name and that of his beloved partner, Lavinia White.
While Stef was already making a name for himself throughout the late 1980s and ‘90s, and often playing in primetime slots at the festival, for 20 years he could still be seen backing his mother, Emilie, usually in the hot mid-afternoon sun, whose sets were part performance and part history lesson of Eastern European folk music and traditions that she grew up with and were so much a part of her life. While it would be both difficult and redundant to add to what has already been written about Stefan, it should be noted he and Emilie were as much a part of this festival as any one or two people could be.
2021 – Annie Sorrells & Jerry Green, Phoenix, Arizona
2020 – Competition cancelled due to COVID-19
2019 – Nick and Luke
2018 – Sophia Rankin
2016 – Janelle Loes
2015 – Jen Hajj
- October 1 | Application acceptance opens ($25 Application Fee for all submissions)
- December 15 | CLOSED: Application acceptance closes
- January 1 | Songwriting Contest Finalists announced
- January 8 | Deadline for Finalist commitment to attend
- April 2 | Finalist Competition at Club Congress (Festival Kick-Off Concert)
- April 3 | Winner and Runner-Up Perform Sets on Plaza Stage