MerleFest, presented by Lowe’s, will once again host the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. The contest is now accepting applications from aspiring songwriters. The deadline for submissions is February 19, 2013. MerleFest is slated for April 25-28, 2013. The first round of the CASC competition takes place in Nashville, Tenn., and is narrowed down to 12 finalists in four categories: bluegrass, country, general and gospel/inspirational. Finalists then come to the final round of competition, which takes place during MerleFest on the campus of Wilkes Community College. Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception the scholarship has awarded over $36,000 to 75 deserving students. To learn more details about the contest, visit www.merlefest.org/ChrisAustinSongwritingContest.