Three songwriting and performance competitions to choose from:

1) Imagine Peace Songwriting Contest: Live At The Festival

Is John your hero like he is ours? Do you think you can write a song using Peace as the theme? Would you like to perform live at the Muhammad Ali Center, and if you’re good enough to make it through to the final round, perform before thousands at Abbey Road on the River and win fans along with some great prizes? It’s easy to enter;

Imagine Peace Contest Entry Requirements

  • To enter the Imagine Peace Songwriting Contest you have to write an original composition inspired by John Lennon’s lifetime commitment to peace and love. Songs should not exceed 4 minutes in length.
  • To register for the competition fill out the registration form.
  • You must submit a lyric sheet for the live competition, no lyrics necessary for instrumental compositions.
  • A $25 registration fee is due the day of the contest. Cash and checks accepted. Checks should be made out to Abbey Road on the River.
  • The contest is held Saturday (1pm-5:30pm) and Sunday (12pm-4:30pm). We will schedule individual performance times.

Imagine Peace Contest Rules

  • Contestants must perform the original composition focusing on the theme of ‘Peace and Love’ not exceeding 4 minutes in length.
  • All genres of music are welcome.
  • Only one performer allowed per entry.
  • Only one song entry allowed per contestant.
  • You must submit a lyric sheet, no lyrics necessary for instrumental compositions.
  • A completed application and $25 registration is required to participate.
  • You must be available to participate anytime Saturday (1pm-5:30pm) and Sunday (1pm-4:30pm).
  • Contest is open to amateur and professional songwriters, including Abbey Road on the River performers.
  • If you are an Abbey Road on the River performer, your song must be original and not a part of your band’s set list for the festival.
  • Winners will be chosen by a select rotating panel of judges comprised of Abbey Road on the River performers/staff and industry leaders in the community.
  • Songs will be judged based on melody, composition, originality, stage presence, and lyrics (when applicable).
  • Top scores from each time slot will advance to next level.
  • Semi-finalists and finalists will be announced immediately after each round.
  • In Round 1 (Saturday)- Each panel will select their top performers who will continue to the semi-final round on Sunday.
  • The judges will select 5 finalists from the semi-finalists.
  • If a semi-finalist or finalist cannot compete on Sunday, the position will go to the next highest qualifier.
  • Grand prize winner receives A Gretsch Electromatic Guitar valued at approximately $600.
  • Please note, by entering this contest does not mean you receive admission into the Abbey Road on the River Festival. If you wish to go over the pedway onto the Belvedere into the AROTR festival area you must purchase a separate ticket.
  • Decision of judges and event management are final.
  • Contestants’ performance times will be confirmed by the event via e-mail.
  • AROTR reserves the right to video, keep, and broadcast all and any performances.

Prizes to include:

  • A Gretsch Electromatic Guitar (Grand prize)
  • $100 Gift Card and 2 free hours of studio time at Guitar Center (Runner-up)
  • $100 AROTR Merchandise Gift Certificate (2nd runner-up)
  • Free Entry in to National John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Final 2)
Judges Panels:
Saturday 1-3pm
  • Steve Sizemore (AROTR Performer)
  • Marion Dries (WFPK)
  • Jenna Foster ( Music Contributor)
Saturday 3-5pm
  • Rachel Blanton (AROTR Performer)
  • Brooke Jacob (AROTR Performer)
  • Dave Lempke (AROTR Performer)
Sunday 1-2:30pm
  • Michael Barrett (AROTR Performer)
  • Paul Pickard (Guitar Center- Contest Sponsor)
  • Annette Skaggs (Louisville Public Media)
Sunday 3:15-4:30
  • Paul Pickard (Guitar Center- Contest Sponsor)
  • Laurence Juber (2x Grammy Winning Guitarist, AROTR Performer)
  • Catherine Feeny (JLSC Winner)
  • Tyler Morrison (Liquid Recording Group Incorporated)
  • Matt Anthony (WFPK)


2) The John Lennon Songwriting Contest Peace Promotion

in conjunction with Abbey Road On the River

Congratulations to Catherine Feeny from Portlandia, Oregon who won the National John Lennon Songwriting Contest and will be appearing with her band on Sunday, May 26 at 6pm on The Fountain Stage!

Contest Opens: April 1, 2013
Contest Deadline: April 19, 2013
Winner Announcement: April 23, 2013 on
Entry Fee: $30.00 (inclusive of a regular Session I, 2013 JLSC entry)

The John Lennon Songwriting Contest (JLSC) is an international songwriting contest open to both amateur and professional songwriters around the world. Between the dates of April 1 and April 19, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest will be running a special promotion based around the theme of “Peace” in order to coincide with this year’s Abbey Road on the River Festival. Not only do entrants stand the chance to win the Peace Grand Prize Package listed below, but all entrants will be submitted to the JLSC’s regular Session I, 2013 where they will contend to win their $20,000.00 Song of the Year prize amongst many other prizes! Please note, professional recordings are not required as all entries are judged based on melody, composition, originality and lyrics (when applicable; instrumentals are welcome)

To enter the “Peace” promotion, please visit

The PEACE Grand Prize Package Includes:

  •  A 30 minute performance set at Abbey Road On The River on Sunday, May 26, 2013
  •  $1,000 towards travel expenses
  •  A 1-night stay at the Galt House Hotel & Suites, food provided for 2 days on-site at the festival
  •  Custom John Lennon Educational Tour Bus cables from Neutrik
  •  A JamHub BedRoom
  •  An Avid MBox.


3) 5th Beatle Fantasy Audition, Saturday, Ali Center, JLSC stage, Noon

Have you always wanted to be in a Beatle Tribute band? To perform on stage at Abbey Road on The River? This is your chance. You still have time to send your video, audio, or very convincing letter of interest to for your chance to be the Fifth Beatle. UPDATE: Deadline closed

Selected participants will have a chance to prepare, rehearse, and perform one song as a member of Meet The Beetles. Sullivan jacket will be provided so you will truly be a member of the band for your song.

A very special thanks to our 5th Beatle Fantasy Audition Sponsors!

YOU can be one of them!