Bonnie Kate Theater to host statewide songwriting competition Saturday

The statewide Tennessee Songwriter’s Week Competition will host one of its qualifying rounds in the Bonnie Kate Theater in Elizabethton, bringing 20 different musicians in the region an opportunity to not just compete, but to showcase their talent for the entire state to see and enjoy.

Tourism Coordinator for the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce Luke Freeman said this is only the second year the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has put the competition on and the first year Elizabethton was selected to host one of its qualifying rounds.

“Something we are known for here is songwriting,” Freeman said.

Twenty performers will showcase their work at the Bonnie Kate Theater Saturday evening in front of a panel of judges. The top four will go to the Down Home in Johnson City. That competition will bring in the top four from every qualifying round in the region and pick the top contestant there to go to the Blue Bird Cafe in Nashville.

“We had 20 people sign up,” Freeman said. “We have so much talent we see around here all the time.”

When the competition began last year, there were only about six qualifying rounds in the entire state. Now, Bonnie Kate is one of 40 different locations. He said the sharp increase is a sign of growth not just for the competition, but in the opportunities it provides for local artists who now have a chance to be seen and heard on a larger stage.

He said the response from the community is a big deal, as it means more members of the community will be exposed to local artists and their talent.

“We are definitely glad they are excited,” he said.

The regional competition, he said, will take place in Johnson City on February 29.

The local competition itself will take place at the Bonnie Kate Saturday, Feb. 1, starting at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend at no cost, though Bonnie Kate will be selling concessions to fundraise for the restoration project.

“We encourage people to come out and support the musicians and the theater,” Freeman said.

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