Songs of Strength – Original Music Competition
Contest Rules & Regulations

Please carefully read the following rules and regulations as you will be asked to confirm these terms as part of your Songs of Strength contest submission. 

To the best of my knowledge, all of the statements in this application are true. I have read, understood and complied with all eligibility requirements of the contest for which I would like this song to be considered, and I agree to the terms outlined in the General for the Columbia Festival, Inc. dba Columbia Festival of the Arts I further acknowledge and represent that:

  1. Each song submitted must be contestant’s original content and art. Songs may not exceed four (4) minutes in length. Songs may have multiple co-writers, but please designate one primary name only on the application. Contestant may submit as many songs as he/she wishes, but each entry requires a separate digital file, entry form, and lyric sheet. The Columbia Festival of the Arts and WTMD are not responsible for late, lost, damaged, misdirected, postage due, stolen, or misappropriated entries. The Columbia Festival of the Arts and WTMD are not responsible for faulty file uploads accompanying online entries.
  2. The Columbia Festival of the Arts is conducting two (2) separate Songs of Strength contests during 2020 – a Youth Contest (under age 18) and an Adult Contest (age 18+). Three (3) prize-winning songs will be selected. The winning Adult submission will receive a $750 award, the winning Youth submission will receive a $500 award, and the People’s Choice Award winner will receive a $250 award.
  3. Competition is open to both amateur and professional songwriters. Employees of the Columbia Festival of the Arts, WTMD, and their immediate family members are not eligible.
  4. The winning submissions will be chosen by a panel of arts industry professionals. Songs will be judged based on melody, composition, originality, and lyrics (when applicable). The top ten (10) finalists number may vary based on total submission in each the Youth Contest and the Adult Contest will be featured in an online voting competition to assist the panel of arts industry professionals in determining the winner of each category. The People’s Choice Award winner could be from either the Youth or Adult category and will be determined from among the Top Finalists from both categories by total number of social media votes gained during the People’s Choice Award open voting time period.
  5. Prize money will be transmitted to the songwriter whose name appears as the primary songwriter on the application. Any division of prize money among multiple co-writers of a winning song is the responsibility of winners. Void where prohibited. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. The Columbia Festival of the Arts reserves the right to substitute prizes of equal or greater value.
  6. Winning songwriters will be notified by email and must sign and return an affidavit of eligibility/recording rights/publicity release within fourteen (14) days of the notification date. The affidavit will state that the song is the original work of the songwriter(s) and that the songwriter(s) hold all rights to the song. Failure to sign and return such affidavit within fourteen (14) days of the notification date or provision of false/inaccurate information therein will result in immediate disqualification, and an alternate winner will be selected. Affidavits for winning songwriters under 18 years of age at the time of the award must be countersigned by a parent or legal guardian. Affidavits are subject to verification by the Columbia Festival of the Arts and its agents. Entry constitutes permission to use winning songwriters’ names, song, likenesses, and voices for future advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation.
  7. 7. Columbia Festival of the Arts or WTMD are under no obligation to provide comments regarding submitted songs to any contestant. The festival and WTMD are not responsible for any internal comments obtained by the applicant regarding their song.
  8. Digital media uploads preferred. However, any submitted CDs, thumb drives, cassettes, and lyric sheets will not be returned.
  9. Winner Announcements: Results of the contests will be announced on or prior to Friday, January 15, 2021. Announcements will be sent to the email address provided with each winning submission and will also be posted on No other notification will be given. For more information, contact
  10. The individual or corporation submitting the song hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the song for play, screening, exhibition, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. This song is not subject to litigation nor is threatened by any litigation. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Columbia Festival of the Arts, Columbia Festival, Inc, it agents and representatives from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, air play, and loss of or damage to the media files entered. Columbia Festival of the Arts, Columbia Festival, Inc or WTMD shall not be responsible for any expenses or related costs incurred by participants to attend Columbia Festival of the Arts and any and all travel related expenses, meals, or other expenses shall be the sole responsibility of the participant.

About the Columbia Festival of the Arts

Founded in 1987, Columbia Festival of the Arts is Howard County’s largest ongoing arts event. Each June, and throughout the year the Festival presents both free and ticketed events. The Festival brings together the arts community, businesses, local schools, and individuals to create events that shine a spotlight, not only on the arts, but also on Columbia as a Maryland showplace. A further vision of the Festival is to promote equality, community empowerment, well-being, and to provide enrichment through the Arts.  

The Festival kicks off each June with LakeFest, its free, three-day outdoor celebration on the lakefront in Downtown Columbia.  Each year the event includes live performance arts, creative activities, a juried fine arts and crafts show, a street art contest, a variety of hands-on workshops for all ages and, of course, the always popular outdoor festival food fare. The LakeFest weekend is open to the general public at no charge, drawing thousands each year over the course of the weekend to participate in the celebration. Free events enable the Festival to attract audiences from all socio-economic backgrounds, some of which might not otherwise attend and/or learn to appreciate live performance art.

 Starting its fourth season in 2021, the Columbia Film Festival is a major endeavor of the Columbia Festival of the Arts, presenting ten (10) days with over 60+ films, workshops, and live filmmaker conversations.  During these unprecedented times, the Festival has launched the Columbia Arts Channel, a virtual platform for community participation and engagement and the Audio Experience, an interactive mobile App that takes participants on multiple journeys of music, stories and inspiration.

 Programming is comprised of a variety of free and ticketed events, including performances in multiple disciplines, master classes, workshops, fine art exhibitions, literary offerings, and frequent opportunities to interact directly with artists. For more information, visit