The Lake County Festival in Lake Zurich (NE Illinois) 1st Sunday in Aug. has a songwriting contest.
Usually (I'm just an attendee, not an organizer) Festivities begin at 11:00 AM and usually the prize is a very good guitar, Taylors, I believe.
I have to say that there is something odd about all this.
My favorite performers are at the opposite end of the talent spectrum, and I'm not alone.
I am absolutely certain the Kingston Trio got big cause they weren't very good. They, in fact, sounded as though your uncle charlie had come over for dinner and brought his old $10 silvertone and was out on the porch playing with cousin Sam. They happened to be in the right place at the right time when people were fed up with Perry Como and Patty Page and were hungry for something a bit more crude and real-sounding.
As I recall, after they got hot, their label (Capitol?) got them a singing coach and their popularity immediately plummeted (I also think Dave Guard was the worst singer of the three - and my favorite).
And, I've always thought Judy Collins would have been more successful, in folk, had she been a tad less talented.
Strange be, this folkstuff.