The sixth annual Great Lakes Songwriting Contest is now open for submissions. And entrants get a free on-line course from SongU just for entering.

A longtime regional favorite, this is the first time songwriters from outside the Great Lakes area can enter. There are no categories or age limits, and no songwriter gives up any rights to his or her song by entering or winning.

Eleven songs will be chosen, splitting about $35,000 in prizes. The Grand Prize will be $2,500 cash and the chance to headline the annual Winners' Concert, plus national publicity and various prize packages from the sponsors.

Thanks to a partnership with Sonicbids, artists can choose to enter on-line or by mail. The regular deadline is September 1, with an extension until September 15 for Sonicbids entries.

The contest is sponsored by Elderly Instruments,,, and Go to for everything you need to enter.