The Proteus Festival Music Contest is for emerging and early-career musical artists. The contest is hosted in 3 stages:

1- Submissions

2- Audience Voting & Finalist Selection

3- Finalist Competition Concert

Submissions are accepted online from August 16, 2022 to September 6, 2022. After submissions close they will be available online for audience voting. The submission with the most audience votes will move forward to the finals as the “audience favorite” and the selection committee will choose the remaining 4 finalists. The five finalists will then perform for a live audience at Proteus Festival, where the winner will be selected by a panel of music industry professionals. The grand prize is a headlining concert in the Live at The Z Music Series and a recording package in The Z’s recording studio. 


Submissions are accepted from Tuesday, August 16, 2022 to Tuesday September 6, 2022

Audience voting will be online from Thursday, September 8, 2022 to Thursday, September 15, 2022        

Finalists announced on Friday, September 16, 2022

Proteus Festival Music Contest Finals will take place Saturday, October 8, 2022 

  1. All ages are welcome! Please note that any entrant deemed a minor according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia will be required to obtain and submit written permission from their parent or legal guardian to participate in the contest.
  2. Entrants may not be currently signed to a recording contract with national distribution.
  3. Entrants must be residents of the U.S. The Z is unable to support special visas in support of any performances arising from this contest. 
  4. Entrants must be available to perform at the Finals concert on October 8, 2022.
  5. The Z is committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive community. The Z’s artistic staff may reject any submission deemed not in line with this policy, such as entries with messages that are derogatory toward other groups, based on gender, race, color, religion, age, nationality, disability or other characteristic. Any rejection on such grounds will be based on the perceived artistic merit of the entry in accordance with The Z’s mission and values. Any Entrant submitting such material may be banned from future contests at The Z. 


  1. To submit for this contest you must complete this google form:
    1. A submission will only be accepted if the google form is filled out in its entirety. If any information is missing or incomplete that entry will be deemed ineligible and the Entrant will have to send a new submission for consideration.
    2. Submissions will be accepted beginning 12:00am on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 through 11:59pm on Tuesday September 6, 2022. Any submissions received outside of this timeframe will not be reviewed nor considered. 
  1. Entrants must be the owner of all content submitted through this contest. The Entrant’s submission to this contest serves as the Entrant’s warrant that the entry is an original work.  
  2. The video submission must be unique to this contest. In other words, it must have been created for the purpose of entering this Contest. The entry may not have been previously published or posted online or entered into any other contest or competition. Once the entry has been successfully received by the contest the Entrant is free to publish or post it publicly.
  3. Entrants are allowed one (1) entry as a lead artist and one (1) entry as a supporting ensemble member.
    1. Any entries submitted after this number is reached by an entrant will be rendered ineligible.
    2. Once a submission is approved it cannot be removed and will remain the primary submission of the Entrant.
  4. All artists who perform in the submission video must be available to perform for the finals. Exceptions may be made for issues related to public health and will be reviewed on a case to case basis. 
  5. Finalists will be required to participate in media interviews and will make themselves available upon request. Interviews may be conducted in-person, virtually, or over the phone. 
  6. Submitting for this contest will serve as a media and likeness release. Any photos or video included in the entrants submission can be used for  publicity and marketing including Social Media, Web, and Print.
  7. Submissions may be under review for up to three business days before appearing live for voting.

This Contest is a talent, performance, and skilled-based event. Entries and Finalists will be judged on the following criteria:

    1. Lyrics
    2. Musical composition
    3. Originality
    4. Execution
    5. Performance 
  1. Finalist Selection
    1. Five (5) finalists will be chosen from all the entries. One (1) finalist will be selected through audience voting and the other four (4) finalists will be selected by committee. 
    2. Finalists will be notified via e-mail and results will be posted on The Z’s website. Entrants that do not place in the contest will not receive individual notification. 
  2. Finalist Performance 
    1. At the October 8th concert each finalist will have a 10-minute performance slot. The finalist may use less than 10 minutes without penalty, but if the finalist goes over the 10-minute time limit points will be deducted from their final score at the discretion of the judges and representatives of The Z. 
    2. A house band will be available to the 5 finalists to use as support for their performance in the October 8, 2022 concert. Finalists must confirm with The Z’s Music Series Producer their intention to use the house band and must provide lead sheets/charts for the song(s) they intend to perform no later than Monday September 19, 2022. 
    3. The house band will learn up to 2 songs per entrant. 
    4. Entrant must be available to rehearse with the house band the evening of October 3rd or 4th at The Z.
  3. Winner Selection
    1. The finalists will be judged solely on their individual performance at the Proteus Music Contest Finals Concert. 
    2. The winner is selected by the total numerical score of the judge sheets. The finalist with the highest score is the winner. 
    3. In case of a tie for the highest score, a winner may be determined through additional discussion with the judges and representatives of The Z. The Z may also determine there is a winner and a runner-up, or there may be 2 winners. 
  4. Prizes
    1. The winner will receive a headlining concert in The Z’s Live at The Z Music Series to take place April 28, 2023, a 4 hour recording session at The Z’s Main Stage Recording Studio, and a complimentary one-year Artist Membership for The Z’s 2022-2023 season. 
    2. A Runner-up may also be selected and will receive a supporting performance slot in The Z’s season and a recording session at The Z. 
  5. Travel
    1. Travel to Virginia Beach is required if selected as a finalist and if selected as a winner. All travel costs will be the sole responsibility of the Entrant.