Songwriting Community Offers Support to the Nashville SongWriters Festival

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Just Plain Folks, Nashville Folk Fest, Tunesmith, and other songwriter organizations are pitching together in different ways to help The Nashville SongWriters Festival this June 17-19. "Mostly they are offering to put out the word for us or seeing if they have any membership that may want to assist with the Fest," says manager Â?PopcornÂ? Robertson. "Each year we get a few more wanting to lend a hand and that makes us all a little better."

Just Plain Folks, Nashville Folk Fest, Tunesmith, and other songwriter organizations are pitching together in different ways to help The Nashville SongWriters Festival this June 17-19. "Mostly they are offering to put out the word for us or seeing if they have any membership that may want to assist with the Fest," says manager "Popcorn" Robertson. "Each year we get a few more wanting to lend a hand and that makes us all a little better."

"Fest Heads" will run the American Songwriter Magazine Stage at the base of the Artist Building on 50 Music Sq. West in Historic Music Row. Other volunteers will help operate the Nashville Music Guide Stage located on Sony/ATV Music's parking lot at #8 Music Sq. West. Mike Williams, a volunteer who has helped manage stages for everyone from Emerson, Lake & Plamer, Jethro Tull, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top and more says, "We're smack dab in the middle of Music Row. There is so much experienced talent available that wants to pitch in a few hours a day Friday, Saturday and Sunday."

A shuttle will run from Friday afternoon till Sunday evening carrying attendees to different play areas like the Idle Hour Guitar Pull hosted by Silly Billy Arr, (#1 single & album Mel Tillis. Cuts by Faron Young, Loretta Lynn, Mickey Gilley, Tom Jones etc.). Your next stop could be The Hall Of Fame Lounge "Recorded Live" where you can usually find songwriting legend Earl Clark hanging out with Brad Wolf (Warner Bros.) "It's all within walking distance of about 2 or 3 blocks," says Stan Webb, (SESAC Legacy Award) who will be at the Fest. "This is my third one."

There will also be an “Open House on Music Row” where participating publishers, recording studios and other music related businesses will have an open door policy from 10 AM till 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Festival attendees are invited to drop in and see what services these Music Row business offer. "I remember the good ole days when you could walk right in a publishers office or recording studio and talk to somebody." reminisces Bob Hicks, (veteran BMI writer, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, etc.). "It's been a long time since I've heard about this much openness on Music Row. Anybody want to ask me questions, fire away."

The Fest is about helping the little guy and the hit writers of tomorrow but even they want to come play on the same stage as some of their songwriter heroes. A couple of not quite yet discovered local favorites, C. J. Watson and Tori Sparks will be there. Marketects LLC, will be in town that week looking for writers to highlight for the syndicated radio programs they develop and distribute.

Many Featured Songwriters from all genres of music will be giving their time to perform and share their experiences with up and coming writers who attend. Steven McClintock, (Triple Platinum/Gold writer). Wayne Barker Jr.,(18 gold records). Joie Scott, (#1 Collin Raye). Poobah, ("One of the greatest songwriters and entertainers that I've ever known...and he's yet to be discovered by the rest of the world.-Willie Nelson). Troy Martin, ("Baby's Gotten Good At Goodbye, She Can't Say I Didn't Cry, etc.), Travis Meadows, (2001 ASCAP Award). Camile and Chris Wallin, (Montgomery Gentry, Garth Brooks, Lorrie Morgan, Sammy Kershaw, Confederate Railroad, Neal McCoy, Brad Paisley, Joe Diffie, Diamond Rio cuts). Scores of tune smiths from all over will be there from the novice to the pro.

"Our motto this year is 'Keeping It Pure'. I knew we would have to resist the temptation of commercialism as the Fest grows. We have been offered some big bucks to turn the Fest into a Star Search Showcase or some contest." Popcorn explains. "I feel there is enough exploitation in the business, so let the others do that cause we're not." General admissions to the Fest are only $10 for the whole 3 days and Regular Writer Performance Passes are based on a "Ticket Contribution." with a suggested $30 minimum. It's all about just doing the best you can do. Isn't that all we can do anyway?"

There is also a Three Day Writers Retreat just before the Nashville SongWriters Festival taught by industry pros. The classes help raise funds to support the Big Three Day Weekend Fest. Last year most of the instructors were unpaid, volunteering the knowledge of their craft. Buzz Kiefer Writers Retreat Headmaster says. "I think we're about the only Songwriting Instruction Course in the nation with a "Tuition Plan" where you pay what you can, as you can. Last year we awarded about 15 scholarships."

"Putting on this festival isn't easy, but neither is being a songwriter," says the humble Clinton Gregory, ("One of the greatest country singers on the planet." ~ Marty Stuart)

Food and fun. Families welcome. Spread the word, "The SongWriters are coming."

To obtain a play slot, general admissions tickets, open house listing, booth space, program guide advertisement, Writers Retreat Classes or other general information visit http://www.SongWritersFestival.com or call 615-424-1491 or 931-296-4067 or Email: SongWritersFest@Aol.com.

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Cornelius Robertson
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