Bonnie Kate Theater to host qualifying round of statewide songwriters competition

Published 2:36 pm Thursday, December 23, 2021

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The Bonnie Kate Theater in Downtown Elizabethton will be one of several sites to host the qualifying round of a statewide songwriters competition in early 2022.

Tennessee Songwriters Week will take place Feb. 20-26, 2022, with the qualifying round at the Bonnie Kate being held on Saturday, Feb. 5, beginning at 6 p.m.

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“The competition will feature songwriters from all over the area who will perform original songs that they have written,” said John Huber, member of the Friends of The Bonnie Kate. “We are expecting around 10 performers, and at the moment we have four that have signed up.

“The contestants will compete here in the qualifying round and there will be judges that choose one winner from this venue. From there, those winners will move on to the second round of the competition in Johnson City. After that round, the top finalists in the state will get to travel to Nashville for the final competition, where the winner will hopefully get picked up by an artist,” said Huber.

This is not the first year that the historic theater will host a round of the competition, as the Bonnie Kate held one of the qualifying rounds of the contest in 2020.

“Last year, the Chamber of Commerce was in charge of everything and asked us to host the event. But this year, the state asked us directly to host the event and we of course accepted,” said Huber.

“It’s a great competition, and if we can get enough advertising out there for the event and get a good audience for the songwriters, they get a lot of exposure,” said Huber. “It’s good for us and good for the songwriters, and it is a great competition with a nice gold carrot at the end if you’re the one.”

And while the Bonnie Kate is the venue for the qualifying round, exposure from a competition is good for the whole city of Elizabethton.

“This is going to provide traffic for the whole town because some of these songwriters come from pretty far out, so they will bring their families and while they wait to perform they will explore the city,” said Huber.

The Bonnie Kate Theater is located at 116 South Sycamore Street in Elizabethton, and those interested in performing in the competition can sign up at the theater’s website,

The registration for the event includes submitting lyrics and a YouTube video link to one song. The song submission must be written and performed by the artist registered for the contest.

The International Storytelling Center, Model City Tap House, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum are among other qualifying round locations in the region.