Songwriters will descend on Demopolis

Published 8:32 pm Friday, June 7, 2013

Pouring out emotions on a page for some writers turns into poetry. For others, it may turn into a novel. However, for these writers, they place their emotions to a melody to create songs.

Bringing their songs to Demopolis, several artists will play in the area’s inaugural Highway 80 Songwriter’s Festival on Saturday, July 6 from 6-10 p.m. at the square downtown.

The partnership came from a connection between Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson and songwriter Richelle Putnam. After the two met at a meeting they both attended, the wheels of ideas for the event began to turn.

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“We want this event to be a celebration of the originality of songwriters and their stories,” Putnam said.

Earlier this year, meetings began between active community members and city officials in hopes of making the idea a reality.

Included in these meetings were the mayor, police chief, fire chief, representatives from Collins Communications, the arts council and other important roles to bring the event together. Along with Putnam’s help, John McClure of the Main Street program in Meridian is also helping with the event.

The event will be open to songwriters near and far. The Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce will handle gathering the information from songwriters that apply to be a part of the event. Interested songwriters should contact the Chamber for registration forms.

“We hope the event will promote and boost tourism, but we also hope to educate people of the process of songwriting as the writers are explaining how they came up with the songs,” Jennifer Tate of the Chamber said.

Those persons who attend the festival should prepare to hear all different types of genres such as Folk, Southern Rock, Country and many others. The style of the event often involves a “round,” which includes sometimes four songwriters, the participants go onstage and tell a little about their song then proceed to play.

While the music will be the focus of the event, there will be local vendors in the area as well. The event is set to take place on the Public Square downtown. The event will follow Demopolis’ annual Freedom on the River events.

As those July 4 events draw large crowds, the organizers of the songwriter’s festival hope to only build on the excitement of the age-old event.

Mayor Grayson, a musician himself, said he enjoyed a similar event such as this one and enjoyed seeing the talent.

“We hope to tag it along with our July 4th activities and draw a large crowd,” Grayson said.