Image Bruce Jacups

Welcome! Whether you’re a first-time performer or a spoken word aficionado, now is the time to get your two-minute masterpieces together, to help us make the 2021 Bellingen Poetry Slam as fabulous as it always is.

Feel the adrenaline. Move us. Amuse us. And hundred or so other people in the marquee with us.

Yes, this year we are performing at the Bellingen Showgrounds, where the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival has relocated due to COVID’s shenanigans.

I reserve the right to alter everything which follows in the very unlikely event that we need to, in order to prioritise creating a great, safe night for the audience.  I will do my best to tell you straight away.

Any questions,, or if its super urgent, 0438 609 097

Thanks, and good luck!
Jason John (MC and event organiser)

Pre Register

I highly recommend that you pre-register your intent to enter by filling in this Google form:

2021 Bello poetry slam application →

I’ll also put you on the mailing list for updates about the slam, and other performance opportunities in the area, you can unsubscribe but it will be the official communication channel before the slam.

It may be possible to sign up on the night without pre-registering, but in previous years this has meant you end up on the wait-list, and its highly likely tickets will have sold out before then!

Before the night

I’m working on some options for locals to get together and practice in the lead up, I’ll let you know.  There will be an open mic at the Bellingen Show in May which will give you a chance to shed some nerves.

On the night


Sure it’s a competition, but it’s also a community.  I’ll try to find some space for us to catch up before hand, and hopefully there will be food carts there on the night.

Sign in

On the evening of the event, all participants*, must sign in between 5pm and 6:30. If you are not signed in by 6:30 your slot may be given to someone else, and you will be wait-listed. 

*If you’re a GP with a medical emergency or some-such text me before 6:30 and I’ll hold your spot.

Mic training

We will have the chance to do a bit of vocal warming up and practise with the mic ahead of the event, details will come through the mailing list for registered performers.


When your name is called, sanitise your hands and then grab the mic and the audience’s heart, mind and soul. 

There is just you and your words, and maybe some body language.

No props, costumes, music, beat-boxes etc. 

You can read your poem (especially first-timers) but will probably do much better if you don’t need to, or just glance at it.  This is a slam performance, not a poetry reading.

From your first word you have just two minutes.  You lose a point at 2:01, and we cut the mic at 2:30.

It must be your poem, never used before as part of the Australian Poetry Slam, and never having placed in any poetry event.  If there’s a poem you used before in the Bello Poetry Slam that didn’t get you through to the next round, and you want to try it again to really do it justice, go for it.

Come prepared with at least three poems!

Currently we are planning two rounds: twenty performers in the first, ten in the second.

You will also need a backup in-case we have a tie-breaker.

To be safe, you might want two backups!  It also helps in case there are six poems before yours about COVID, and you decide to switch it up.

The winners

The winner is poetry.

The runner up is the audience.

As far as poets go, two guest judges plus three audience members will score you from 0-10, and we will use the middle three scores to score your poems.  There is some very happy making prize money thanks to Officeworks for first place, second place, and people’s choice.  Judges decisions are final etc etc.