Regional Song Contest

Entries close 10th January 2024

Here’s your chance to get your songs noticed and win 1 of 4 brand new guitars, plus perform LiVE at the Tamworth Country Music Festival!


Simply upload a video of you playing your own song (solo) and send the link to before 10th January 2024.


Categories include Best Song, Best Lyric, Best Vocal or Best Guitarist and you could be playing live every day from Fri 19th to Sat 27th January.


Daily live performances are for solo singer songwriters between 10am - 12pm and the FINAL will be held on Sunday 28th January. Prizes will be awarded on the day!


TO ENTER:  Simply post your video online of you (alone) performing your own song and send the link via email to to be in the running.  


First started in 2014, the Regional Song Contest has discovered plenty of amazing winners as you can see below in the event history.




STEP 1. Post a video of you (solo) singing your own song online and email the link to 

The Contest was paused during Covid 2021 and 2022
The 2020 WINNERS
BEST SONG: 'Hand In Hand' by Kim Wright from Ipswich, QLD
BEST LYRIC: "Yilalu' by Loren Ryan from Tamworth, NSW

BEST VOCAL PERFORMANCE: Glenn Bidmead from Sydney, NSW
BEST GUITARIST: Hamish Nilsson from Tamworth, NSW
Songwriting: Trinity Woodhouse from Newcastle
Lyrics: Kelly Winning for 'That Fire Truck'
Vocal: Bella MacKenzie from Mackay, QLD.
Kristine Best from Gosford, Kat Angela from Blue Haven, Phillip Doring from Wee Waa, Paul Owen from Tamworth, Kelly Winning from Sydney, Julie Prowse from Blackville, Bella MacKenzie from Mackay, Darren Smith from Orange, Glenn Bidmead from Sydney, Kim Wright from Ipswich.
(Above): 2020 Winners & Finalists at the FANZONE stage - Tamworth

(Above): 2020 BEST SONG - Hand In Hand by Kim Wright

(Above):  2020 BEST VOCAL - Glenn Bidmead

(Above):  2020 BEST LYRIC - Loren Ryan "Yilalu'

(Above):  2020 BEST GUITARIST - Hamish Nilsson

(Above):  Thanks to TANGLEWOOD GUITARS for providing this year's prizes! L- R :The stunning copper-top TE3CP Stiletto electric, the exotic TWDBTSFCEAEB with Ebony top, back & sides, the Crossroads TWCROE Orchestra and the solid topped TWUSFCE Union Superfolk! * All guitars come with built-in tuner, a strap, a guitar stand and in a case!
SPEICAL THANKS to radio 88.9fm, Jon & Jodi, Annabelle, Tamworth Country Music Festival especially Barry, Cheryl and Crystal, to our judges Terri Scott, Jim Guider and Phil Weaver as well as Mike Casey and Bernadette Heap, The Pub Group and all the artists, parents & friends involved!
About Last Year's Winners (2019)
1st PLACE:  53yo Chad Sinclair with his song, 'Upon Me' 
Runner Up:  16yo Sophie Volp, with her song, 'Letters'
Encouragement Award: 14yo Shyanne Irwin 
Fretfest director, Alan Buchan with 2018/19 RSC Winner, Chad Sinclair, at 88.9fm
ABOUT WINNER - Chad Sinclair 
53yo Chad Sinclair is a respected local in Tamworthm best known for his work with BLUE DOG FENCES.  Chad's face is recognised along with his voice, featuring in the fencing company's telelvision adverts. The words "Manufactured right here in Tamworth" lend an air of authenticity to Chad's humble attitude and he is a true blue "Aussie".
Chad is happy about his win however he's not the kind of bloke to get too excited. He's just glad to have taken part and to get into the studio and remix his winning song, 'Upon Me' with international session maestro, Phil Weaver on keys, Dave 'Sticksey' Adams on drums and Al Buchan on guitars! 
LISTEN TO THE SONG > CLICK HERE to find Chad Sinclair UPON ME on your preferred playform 
LIKE US at for all the announcements and updates about the 2020 contest entry details and more!
2018/19 Finalists Ken Dinsdale, Shyanne Irwin, Runner Up Sophie Volp, Winner
Chad Sinclair, Stephen Gogos, Alexdrandra Gunn, Linda Mizzi and Kristine Best.

2017/18 WINNER, 39yo, CLINTON HOY from Dubbo!

On hearing the announcement, Clinton said, “I am honoured, and I appreciate that a platform like this exists for regional artists, especially with its focus on original songs.” 

Clinton will be featured at the FANZONE STAGE showcase on 27th January at Tamworth Country Music Festival, alongside the 6 Finalists (listed below) as well as special appearances by former winners Molly Millington and Tyler Shoobert!

This year’s Runner up is 17yo TAMEKA KENNEDY and she wins the beautiful new Tanglewood acoustic guitar.

List Of Finalists: 

* WOLF GORDON from Thiroul near Wollongong

* LUCY PARLE from Lisarow, Central NSW Coast

* JOEL McKAY from Werris Creek

* JOHNNY AMERICAN HORSE  from Adelaide Hills

* DENVAH BAKER-MOLLER from Rockhampton

Plus our special Encouragement Award this year goes to 11yo FELICITY MAHER from Coonabarabran.  

Thanks to all our fans and friends on Facebook and to all the entrants.  The field was tough to split with such a high standard this year so thanks for your patience as we finalised the judging.  

Keep an eye out for up-coming announcements and of course, we hope to see you at the Tamworth Country Music Festival where our big showcase will happening on Saturday 27th January on the massive FANZONE STAGE at 7pm.  Don’t miss it!

Here is Clinton Hoy with his winning song, ‘Pieces Of Difference Puzzles’....


Clinton Hoy:  2017/18 Regional Song Contest WINNER

2016/17 WINNERS

16yo Molly Millington won the 2016/17 Regional Song Contest

Molly is from Woy Won on the Central Coast of NSW

16yo Molly Millington from Central Coast (NSW) wins the 2016/17 Regional Song Contest

As the winner, Molly received a Music Mentorship Package from fRETFEST and she performed on stage at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in recognition of her win and took part in the Tamworth CMF Busking Competition where she placed in the Top Ten!

Molly went on to win the grommit section of the 2017 Byron Bay BLUESFEST Busking Competition and she also the won 2017 Today's Country, 94.1 Brand New Star compeition!

Molly recorded her debut EP with country music artist, Shane Nicholson and she is now being played on radio.


Molly Millington accepting her prize on stage at the 2017 Tamworth Country Music Festival from fRETfEST director, Alan Buchan.

The 2016/17 runner up was 14yo LUKE FURBANK, from Bathurst

Look won this unique, purple Tanglewood acoustic guitar (pic) and he performed live on thre FANZONE stage at Tamworth as part of the prize.

Tanglewood guitar giveaway, 2016/17 runner's up prize (pictured above)

14 yo Luke Furbank playing his own guitar on the Toyota FANZONE stage.

For more, see


The 2015/16 contest was won by 16yo Tyler Shoobert from Binnaway, NSW.

On winning, Tyler said "I started writing and performing when I was 8 years old and ever since then I've always wanted to become a singer now I'm 16, I want to take it further with fRETfEST."

Tyler won a Cole Clark acoustic guitar from GUITAR BROTHERS valued at over $1,800.00 and a music mentorship with fRETfEST.

Tyler is now working on his music and hopes to be able to release an EP in 2016/17.


Cole Clark Angel FL1E-BM acoustic guitar with 2 way pickup system (in case).

Runner up was 15yo Georgie Taylor from Thornlands, Brisbane, Queensland.

15yo Georgie Taylor performing on the FANZONE stage as part of her prize


17yo Harry Marshall from Emerald in Central Queensland won the 1st annual Queensland Regional Song Contest.

As part of his prize, Harry recorded a single with UK producer, Kev Browne and through his own efforts, he performed live on stage with MUMFORD & SONS.

Marshall also won a mentorship with Fretfest Pty Ltd and went on to sign with the A&R DEPARTMENT.

Harry is hoping he can go on to make a profession of writing and singing his own songs, with this big break. He said, “If I could live my life on the road playing shows for the rest of my life, I would be a happy man. Music will always be a part of me, music is my life!”, says the talented 17yo.

The inagrual song contest attracted entries from as far afield as Julia Creek, 2hrs east of Mt Isa, Roma, Miles, Dayboro, the Scenic Rim and Buderim. It also attracted Frank Swaby from the Gold Coast hinterland who entered the competition hoping to win the Maton SRS60 acoustic guitar, supplied by GUITAR BROTHERS in Brisbane.

18yo Swaby is a Graphic Design student at the Gold Coast Institute of TAFE and he has been announced as the winner of the guitar, much to his delight!  Excitedly, Frank says, “I am looking forward to performing live with fRETfEST and playing the guitar. This is a chance to improve my skills as an artist, songwriter and musician.”  

Fretfest founder and director, Al Buchan says this is a milestone in the music industry.

“With all the energy being absorbed by nationally televised TV music game shows, hundreds of teenagers are being inspired to play songs but there’s not a lot being done to promote song ‘writing’. We see the Regional Song Contest as a voice in the wilderness. Yes, Australia has got talent.  But at fRETfEST, we’re looking for the next great singer songwriters. The next Pete Murray, Kate Miller-Heidke, Tom Busby or Emma Louise.”  

2014 Runner up, Frank Swaby, with the Maton SRS60 acoustic guitar which he won!



fRETfEST®  launched the Regional Song Contest in July 2014, for musicians and 1st Prize was a Maton SRS 60 (Solid Road Series) acoustic guitar with an AP5 pickup, worth $1,650.

Entries were received from as far away as Julia Creek and Roma and the central highlands of Queensland.  Entries were also been received from the Gold and Sunshine Coast regions.

The MATON SRS60 features solid Queensland Maple timber and an AP5 pickup!


The purpose of the Regional Song Contest is to showcase the depth of songwriting talent from rurual, remote and regional Australia and to offer musicians the chance to be discovered, recognised and rewarded for their songwriting talent.

Fretfest is an innovative Music Mentorship and Indie Singer Songwriter Showcase that has revealled stellar careers including Pete Murray, Kate Miller-Heidke and Tom Busby. Pete Murray went on to sign with the world’s largest record company after playing fRETfEST gigs and then sold over 1 million albums.  Kate Miller-Heidke won the International Song Contest with her anti-bullying anthem, ‘Caught In The Crowd’ and Tom Busby went on to form everyone’s favourite duo, Busby Marou!

fRETfEST also discovered Bobby Flynn who starred in Australian Idol after excelling at fRETfEST and Dominic Miller who now heads a successful music agency in Brisbane. Also, Mark Lowndes who starred on Australia’s Got Talent after rising through the ranks of the fRETfEST at Queensland’s Performing Arts Centre and Alan Boyle who won the Billy Thorpe Scholarship Award after competing in fRETfEST in 2007.

Talk about great outcomes!

In 2008 fRETfEST took 40 finalists to the Woodford Folk Festival and this inspired even more musicians to join Fretfest. One of whom was Andrew Redford.  He went on to win the Telstra Discovery Award at TAMWORTH and Jac Stone made the finals of The Voice last year on Seal’s team after playing at Fretfest. She recorded her debut Ep with Powderfinger’s Darren Middleton and  now she's touring Australia, as a star on the rise in her own right.

So fRETfEST certainly has the credentials and the track record. We even have a presence in America and the UK as well as links to Europe, too.

One of the latest musicians to sign to fRETfEST is17yo Kodey Brims from Mt Cotton who came through the fRETfEST Music Mentorship Program and was accepted into one of the most prestigious music colleges in the world; the Berklee College Of Music in Boston USA.



Bringing music career opportunities to singer songwriters in Regional Australia.