2015 Tucson Folk Festival home
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The 30th Annual Tucson Folk Festival
May 2nd & 3rd, 2015
Songwriting Competition
Saturday, May 2nd, 12:00 — 2:00
Patio Stage
(In front of the Museum of Art entrance)
Ten finalists (chosen from a field that typically numbers more than 40) will perform two original songs each for the Folk Festival audience and a panel of judges that includes fellow songwriters. Contestants will be evaluated on:
  • Originality & Uniqueness
  • Song Structure
  • Arrangement
  • Talent & Stage Presence
The winner will perform a 25-minute set on the Plaza Stage at 5:30 on Saturday.

Congratulations to this year's winners:

1st Place
Jen Hajj Idyllwild, CA
Jen's songwriting has been recognized in several festivals and songwriting contests. She won in the Walnut Valley Festival Newsongs Competition in 2011 and 2014 and has been a finalist in Tumbleweed Music Festival (2014), San Diego County Fair Singer/Songwriter Competition (2014), Wildflower! Art and Music Festival Performing Songwriter Competition (2014), Tuscon Folk Festival (2011, 2012) and the Susanne Millsaps Performing Songwriter Showcase (2011).

2nd Place
Kelly Brightwell Portland, OR
Kelly Brightwell plays "Shimmering Northwest Americana": rain-soaked folk with introspective lyrics, radiant vocals and danceable grooves. Now based in Portland, OR, Kelly grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She taught herself to write songs on piano in middle school, but learned to play folk music the old-fashioned way -- by playing and singing traditional tunes with others. When she's not touring the NW with her 4-piece band, she's the "play at home" mama of an imaginative 4 year old girl.
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3rd Place
Jed Marum Dallas, TX
Jed Marum is a performer of American Roots and Celtic music. Bringing a mix of traditional and original songs to audiences throughout the US, he is known as a refined singer and a gifted songwriter. Since 1999 he has published over a dozen albums, licensed music to film and TV projects and works over 150 shows each year. You can hear in his music, the blending of American, Scottish and Irish cultures. In his songs you will relive the stories passed on from generation.


And thank you to the other 2015 finalists
(shown here in random order):

Eric Ramsey Scottsdale, AZ
Eric has been performing in Arizona as a singer-songwriter in for a long time. Featuring soaring vocals and organic arrangements, his idiosyncratic music draws from such wide-ranging stylists as Bruce Cockburn, Jackson Browne, Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Taj Mahal, John Hiatt, Lowell George, Jerry Garcia and many others, and is never bound by its original sources. His original compositions live in a place where his influences play nicely together....
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Dan Weber Vancouver, WA
Award Winning songwriter Dan Weber has been described as “The classic mid-life overnight sensation.” An ex-Park Ranger, he began at performing at 40 and in a few short years was winning over audiences with inspired performances & hilarious stories from the roads he’s traveled. The Legendary Ramblin’ Jack Elliott said “I love Dan’s songs and he tells really good stories.” In 2014 he Won 2nd place in the prestigious Woody Guthrie contest and was a finalist in the Kerrville ‘New Folk’ competition.

Bear Tucson, Az
Bear is a seasoned musician that has been performing as a solo artist for 30 yrs. He has opened for the likes of Leo Kottke,John Prine and Leon Redbone. Formerly playing covers of swing and blues, he has recently begun to perform mostly original material

Sabrina & Craig Woodland Hills, CA
Sabrina & Craig's signature sound is rooted in luscious harmonies. Their heartfelt vocal connection is anchored by Craig's masterfully-crafted guitar voicings while Sabrina's bass, ukulele and percussion expand the dimension of their performances. The duo builds on its strong musicality with lyric writing that is sophisticated and at turns whimsical and heartbreaking. Craig's straight-up, storyteller style perfectly complements Sabrina -- whether she's sweet, sassy, silly, or soulful.

Susan Wenger Tucson, AZ
Susan Wenger makes up half of the band Cinder Bridge, whose CD, Highways and Hiking Shoes, is conveniently located in the Kitchen store. Susan is an editor/book designer by day, singer/songwriter by night ... except on those occasions when she sings or writes songs during the day and edits or designs books at night. Susan doesn't keep a very strict schedule.

Celeste Amadee Tucson, AZ
Celeste Amadee is a singer/songwriter and Tucson native turned Northwest transplant. Steeped in folk and pop traditions, Celeste’s songs speak with lilting honesty of her experiences of love, loss, passion and joy. At the forefront of her musical style is her lyricism and adoration of words and the power they hold. Celeste is a fresh voice on the musical scene, cultivating connections with her audience through the expression of life experiences that we all share.
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Laura Kepner-Adney Tucson, AZ
Classical singer-turned-folk-artist Laura Kepner-Adney shades her Americana with country and echoes of Appalachia. Frequently compared to Iris Dement, Chrissie Hynde and Gillian Welch, she has developed an expansive songwriting style that highlights her connection to Arizona's unforgiving environment. Rooted in traditional folk technique, Laura's guitar playing exposes her rock and blues influences and showcases her unconventional, rich vocals.


Folk Festival Photographs Copyright © 2008 Marilyn Stringer