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Applications for the 2024 Milkmaid Songwriting Competition are now closed.  

The competition includes live recordings of each entry from the heats;  workshops before the heats; a guaranteed mainstage slot at Bury Folk Festival for the winner and a slot on the Greenstage at the festival for the runner up.


We have also created a Songwriter's Circle for artists to share their work and build a community of creative artists.


The final of the 2024 Songwriting Competition will take place on Friday 26th April.  The finalists are:


Andrew Cason
Helen Woodbridge
Gerd Wagner
Robin Torbitt
Tim Brewster
Jane Bromley
Solomon Smith
Samantha Penman

Live recordings of heats are available by clicking on the button below.




HEAT 1 : Wed 13th March 2024

HEAT 2 : Thu  14th March 2024

HEAT 3 : Wed 10th April 2024

HEAT 4 : Thu  11th April 2024

FINAL :   Fri 26th April 2024


Please do not enter the competition unless you are sure that you will be able to attend in person.   We typically have more applicants than there are places and so that means you will have prevented someone else from taking part if you do not turn up.

Of course there may be unavoidable circumstances (illness, etc.) in which case we ask you to let us know that you will not be able to attend.



2024 Showcase at the Milkmaid Folk Club

2024 set on the Mainstage at Bury Folk Festival

£50 cash

Featured artist on the 2024 Milkmaid Songwriting Competition album


2024 Showcase at the Milkmaid Folk Club

2024 set on the Greenstage at Bury Folk Festival

£25 cash

Featured artist on the 2024 Milkmaid Songwriting Competition album




The 6 songs that get the highest scores from the live performances in the heats go through to the final.   This means that you will have to wait until the heats are completed to find out whether you will be in the final . 


This is a songwriting competition so please do not be put off if you feel that you are not the best performer in the world.  You can ask someone else to perform your song for you if it will help, but the music and lyrics make up more than 50% of the marks whilst the performance only accounts for 20% of the marks:

Music                        maximum score   15

Lyrics                        maximum score   15

Performance            maximum score   10

Pertinence to folk    maximum score   5

Je ne sais quoi         maximum score   5

The songs will be judged based on the criteria listed above.  


The closing date for entries is Thursday 29th February 2024.  

The draw to allocate acts to heats will take place the next day (Friday 1st March) and applicants will be notified straight away.

Songs can be performed by solo artists or bands.  

A basic recording (can simply be a one take smartphone recording) of your song should be submitted together with a lyric sheet and any additional notes on the background to the song



The competition will be split into 4 heats.   Every act gets to perform 2 songs, a warm up (can be a cover) followed by the competition entry song.  The 
main song must be an original composition.

sound system and engineer will be provided but there will not be individual sound checks prior to performance.

There is a £5 Entry fee for all acts.  

Audience will be charged £4 to attend the heats.  £8 for the final.  or  

£12 for all 4 heats and the final.

Milkmaid organisers and staff are ineligible.

The Judges decision is final.


The heats and final will be held at the Risbygate Sports Club, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3RR 


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