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Noan Partly plays a banjo at the LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition. February 1st, 2023

Announcing the 9th annual LEAF Singer-Songwriter Showcase and Competition

The annual LEAF Singer-Songwriter Showcase and Competition, now in its ninth year, will take place at Spring LEAF Festival, in Black Mountain, N.C., on Saturday, May 13, 2023.

The performance showcase and competition is a collaborative effort between NewSong Music and LEAF Community Arts. It aims to identify and recognize exceptional performers and songwriters from across the country. Eight finalists will be invited to perform, network, and compete at the LEAF Festival in May.

The winner of the LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition, selected from a panel of music industry judges, will earn a spot as one of only eight finalists at the annual International NewSong Competition, held in Asheville, N.C., in the fall. The winner will also return to the Fall LEAF Festival, held October 19-22, 2023, as a featured, paid performer.

Past winners include Sadie Gustafson-Zook, Noan Partly, Parker Ainsworth, and Carly Taich.


While the event is a contest, it’s decidedly not a cutthroat competition. Instead, the focus is on building a community among songwriters and sharing the magic of songcraft. “It’s a celebration of one of humanity’s oldest art forms, something that helps us all process and understand the world around us,” says NewSong Music founder Gar Ragland. This is an “opportunity to recognize talented musicians and bring new voices to a bigger stage.”

A group of singer-songwriter stand together outside the LEAF Lounging Barn.


The deadline for Early Bird submissions is Friday, Feb. 24. One early bird entrant will be selected as a finalist for the LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition. (All other early bird entries will remain in consideration.) The final deadline to submit entries is Sunday, April 2. Finalists are expected to be announced by Wednesday, April 12. 



“NewSong has been an extraordinary LEAF partner, creating the opportunity for many amazing songwriters and singers to perform at LEAF Festival. For many artists, this was their first big step onto a national and international stage, and the teamwork with the organizations creates ease and support. In a nod to history, these artists are walking in the footsteps of historic Black Mountain College moments and LEAF Global artists from over 100 countries.” ~ Jennifer Pickering, LEAF Global Arts Co-Executive Director & Founder

About LEAF Global Arts

LEAF Community Arts is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization with a mission to connect cultures and create community through music and arts. LEAF is composed of two key cultural arts education programs, LEAF Schools & Streets and LEAF International, as well as two signature events, LEAF Festival and LEAF Downtown.  LEAF Festival provides a family-friendly weekend experience infused with music and arts while supporting the long-term vision of the organization. Since 1995, LEAF has served more than 200,000 youth with programs in over 15 community locations and in 10 countries worldwide. Learn more at