James Isaac, 21, was the first weekly winner of the Lyrics on the Lake Open Mic Competition for 2020. After two weeks of rain postponements, the competition began last Wednesday night with six acts and a large audience.

Isaac, a bartender in southern California who is visiting this summer with his parents in Moneta, accompanied himself with guitar and harmonica. He cited Bob Dylan as a big musical influence, and his performance reflected that influence. He currently has music on Spotify.

The Open Mic Competition will be held each Wednesday night through July 22 at Mangos Bar and Grill at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta. The five weekly winners will then compete against each other on July 29 for a grand prize, which includes $250, a performance at the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival and a berth in next year’s Lyrics on the Lake Songwriters Festival. On-site registration for the competition begins at 7:30 p.m. and competition is at 8 p.m. There is no fee to compete and no cover charge for the audience to attend.

The competition has always led into the Lyrics on the Lake Songwriters Festival, but due to the coronavirus restrictions, the festival had to be canceled. These events raise money each year for charity, the primary beneficiary being the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in Roanoke and Lynchburg, through the Musicpreneur Storehouse Foundation. This year, a new charity will be added to the recipients.

Due to the coronavirus restrictions, many of the artists and technicians who donate their time, talents and equipment to Lyrics on the Lake’s fundraising efforts have not been able to earn an income and are in dire financial need. Because they give so much to us and our community, some of our donations this year will be used to fund grants that will be available to these artists and technicians.

More information may be found on www.lyricsonthelake.com.

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