About this event


A contest in honor of the late Kent Finlay, founder of the iconic Cheatham Street Warehouse, where the careers of George Strait, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rogers, Todd Snider, James McMurtry, and Terri Hendrix were launched.  


Singer-Songwriter Search 

  1. Enter your best songs either with a YouTube video or in person at Southern Sky Music Cafe for the opportunity to open for Los Lonely Boys at Fiesta JAM on October 21, 2023, & to open for Gary P. Nunn at the Gary P. Nunn Music Festival, Memorial Day Weekend in 2024


Four Fabulous Finalists

  1. Four contest finalists perform their songs live Friday, October 20, 2023, following the singer-songwriter seminars before an industry panel of judges that includes: Brandi Warden of Moonkiss Music, Bernie Nelson, hit songwriter, and Jenni Finlay, owner of Jenni Finlay Promotions. Finalists are also invited to play at the Festival Beer & Wine Garden Saturday, October 21, 2023, 12pm-3pm.


Triumphant Texas Troubadour

The winning singer-songwriter receives a professionally produced recording of the winning song by Mauldin Productions, a radio campaign by Jenni Finlay Promotions & Southern Sky Records, The Tillman, an award in honor of Floyd Tillman, a CMA Hall of Fame Inductee, a custom handmade electric guitar by Texas luthier, Bryan Hibler. 


  1. ONLINE ENTRY: After payment, then complete the online entry form at https://fiestajam.org/song-search with your contact information and the YouTube video link of your song performed by you, the contestant. Please include the lyrics showing the songwriting split, for example, John Lennon 50% & Paul McCartney 50%. The participant must be at least 50% creator of the song entry. We’re searching for a singer-songwriter who can not only sing a song but write one too. Video quality will not be judged. This can be an iPhone or Android video. 
  2. LIVE, IN-PERSON ENTRY: You may choose to participate in the live, in-person audition at Southern Sky Music Cafe, 101 Rowland Drive, Kerrville, TX 78028. After payment, please complete the in-person form at https://fiestajam.org/song-search  All in-person participants must appear at Southern Sky Music Cafe on October 6, 2023, for the first round and be available on October 7, 2023, if chosen for the second round. You’ll be required to bring 4 copies of your lyrics showing the songwriting split, for example, John Lennon 50% & Paul McCartney 50%.
  3. A contestant may enter up to two songs at $15 each. If you’re using your dad’s or your girlfriend’s credit card, please designate the name as written on the credit card below your name on the entry form. 
  4. All Fiesta JAM Singer-Songwriter online entries must be received by midnight on October 7th, 2023. The entry deadline for the live, in-person contest at Southern Sky Music Cafe is noon on October 6, 2023
  5. The online-only entry must be submitted in YouTube video format. The URL link must be provided with the submission. Video quality will not be judged. Create a performance video of your song using your Android or iPhone, open the YouTube app, click on the plus symbol, then choose the song video you want to upload. After it’s uploaded, share the link in the Fiesta JAM online entry form.
  6. You may enter only previously unreleased songs, i.e., songs not owned by a major record label or third-party independent label. You must own the rights to the entry. If the entry is co-written, you must have permission from your co-writer to submit it. If you’ve previously released your songs to Spotify or YouTube, for example, on your vanity label, that’s okay. 
  7. If chosen as one of the four finalists, you must be able to perform the selected song in person on October 20, 2023, at Lakeside Pavilion, 305 Buena Vista Dr, Marble Falls, TX 78654. 
  8. You may accompany yourself in your YouTube submission. Or, you may have one musician accompany you. You may have one musician accompany you at the finals on October 20, 2023. 


Dr. Robert Linder, former Dean of Fine Arts at Houston Baptist University, will oversee the preliminary panel of judges for the YouTube submissions. The judges for the finals, October 20, 2023, include Brandi Warden, owner of Moonkiss Music, a BMI award-winning publisher; Jenni Finlay of Jenni Finlay Promotions, leader in Texas and Americana radio promotion; and Bernie Nelson, whose songs have sold over 25 million copies including multi-platinum cuts on the works of Conway Twitty, Ricky Van Shelton, Kenny Chesney, Wynonna, Colin Raye, Confederate Railroad, Chris Ledoux, Kris Kristofferson, John Anderson and many more.



a. The quality of the lyrics

b. The uniqueness of the melody

c. The emotional impact of song

d. The overall quality of performance

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