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San Diego County Fair: Contests & Competitive Exhibits

KPRI presents


Returning for its fourth year, by popular demand, is our Singer-Songwriter Contest. A search for the best performance by a solo singer, and a showcase for original songwriting, it is a unique experience for emerging artists to show off their talent. The grand prize is $3,000.


Application Deadline: April 14
Thank you for your interest in this contest. The deadline has passed and we are no longer accepting applications. We hope you will come out and support the contestants!

Finalists Announced: May 9

Performance Date

Final Round: June 20


1st Place: $3,000, 5 hours of studio time from Recording Arts & Technology, an additional paid performance at the Fair, and a trophy
2nd Place: $2,000, 3 hours of studio time from Recording Arts & Technology, and a trophy
3rd Place: $1,000, 2 hours of studio time from Recording Arts & Technology, and a trophy

For those who have applied:
Contest rules
Frequently asked questions
To update an application previously submitted, use this form.

Sponsor Prize Packages

The Casbah Stage time to the winners

Recording Arts
& Technology
1st Place winners receive 5 hours of studio time; 2nd Place winners receive 3 hours studio time; 3rd Place winners receive 2 hours studio time.

The Nardcast Airtime/interview on Nardcast


Direct them to
or call 858-755-1161 x2363


If you would like to receive reminders on deadlines and other entry information, please sign-up for the Del Mar Fairgrounds mailing list.


2013 Singer-Songwriter winners

Read the San Diego Reader's coverage of the Winners!

1st Place: Tolan Shaw

Watch Tolan Shaw on UT:TV

Known for his work as lead singer for the award-winning San Diego based band, The New Archaic, Tolan Shaw is an accomplished singer/songwriter and a passionate musician. After branching off to pursue his own solo music, Tolan began to craft songs inspired by travel, spiritual discoveries, nature, and big questions of life. Though differing from the music of The New Archaic, Tolan's solo performance is equally as captivating, exposing raw emotion and soul, and brimming with dynamics. Tolan began to refine his solo show in 2011, performing regularly around San Diego and opening for touring artists such as Matt Costa, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, and The Format. After graduating from college, Tolan took off with his guitar on a songwriting journey to Latin America, through 11 countries, 72 cities, and more than 2,000 tortillas... His newest solo work is a blend of soulful melodies, bluesy tones, and lyrics inspired by that life changing trip. Tolan recently released his self-titled debut solo record, with hopes to make his passion into a career.

2nd Place: Suzanne Harper

Suzanne Harper continues to expand her career in the music scene in San Diego. In the last year, her performances included Cricket Wireless Amphitheater (with Sugarland), House of Blues San Diego, Anthology, Moonlight Amphitheater, Valley View Casino, Pauma Casino, Fox 5 San Diego, 102.1 KPRI FM, and most recently KSON 92.1FM. Suzanne's original material includes more than 70 pieces, ranging from pop to country to rock. Her band Talk Like June can be seen performing all over the county. Suzanne's original material includes more than 70 pieces, ranging from pop to country to rock.

3rd Place: Chad Taggart

Watch Chad Taggert live at the Fair
on Friday, June 28 at 7:00PM on the Paddock Stage

Somewhere along the winding path from his native New Jersey to his now residence in North County, San Diego, Chad Taggart has taken on a unique brand of music not quite similar to many others. With a background steeped in traditional and folk balladry, a sound has emerged that brings a relatable and contemporary spin to this once fading art. When not seen playing music throughout the various stages of this sunny city, Chad can be found gratefully interacting with other musicians as he hosts the Lestat's West Open Mic.

2013 songwriter finalists included:
Bryan Bangerter
Carissa Schroeder
Carlos Olmeda
Dave Booda
Joanna Pearl
Kristi Krause
Nate Donnis
Richard Schmeig
Stephen Ybarra

Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014

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