guitar from annual Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival
August 8, 2016

Gear up for a great experience! The 2016 5th Annual Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival is about to get under way beginning Wednesday, August 24th through Sunday, August 28th. Based on previous years festivals, this is guaranteed to be another great time for everyone. Four days of free live music in the downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee area featuring more than 120 shows will be celebrated by visitors.

What is the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival?

The festival sponsored by the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau allows songwriters to perform songs they have written and share with the audience the history behind their song. According to the SMSWF there is a “story behind every song”. It is one of the largest entertainment settings in the country to which the public is invited to enjoy free live music in downtown Gatlinburg. This festival aids songwriters in getting their songs out in there for producers, publishers, and the public to hear.

There are several ways the public can participate in the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival. In addition to enjoying the music, the public and songwriters can participate by invitation, entering a band play-off (only for bands with original music), a songwriting workshop, entering the SMSWF Song Competition or applying for the SMSWF Co-Write 2 Songs with Hit Writers. They can also audition for a 30-minute Stage Spot. Choosing one is a great way for participants to celebrate their “Appalachian Musical Roots”.

PreShow and Opening Show

Here are a few of the events scheduled for this years festival:

The PreShow Kick-off will start at 7:15pm on the 25th of August with Karen Waldrup. The Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival met Karen while serving as a judge at a Nashville Rising Star Series. She has been a contestant on The Voice, a finalist on Nashville Rising Star, and has been named a “GAC Top 25 Songwriter”. This is her second year at the festival and SMSWF believes she has a lot to offer as an entertainer and a songwriter.

The opening show begins at 8:00pm and will feature Keith Anderson. His song, “Lost In This Moment” was a hit for Big & Rich and also earned Anderson ACM and CMA Song of the Year nominations. Additionally Keith Anderson was named “Number One New Male Artist of 2005”. An excellent songwriter, he and Kim Williams co-wrote “Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?)” for George Jones and Garth Brooks.

2016 Concerts Schedule

What’s in store this year? There will be concerts as well as songwriters on stage in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN. Tickets are available online and will be sold at the door if they are not sold out beforehand.

The first will be on Friday night, August 26th and features Emi Sunshine and The Rain at 8 pm. The tickets for this concert are $15 for adults and $8 for children ages 6 to 12. Emi Sunshine and her mother, Alisha Hamilton will be hosting a workshop “Inspiring Beginnings in Songwriting” during the festival. One of the concerts will be on Saturday night, August 27th will feature Tony Arata, Pat Alger, and Kent Blazy at 7 pm. songwriters are responsible for writing number one hit songs for Garth Brooks resulting in him becoming a singing sensation. The pre-show will be performed by Sylvia “Nobody”. She is a songwriter and artist. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children over 5 and under 12 years of age. These three will also be giving advice and answering questions at a workshop, “Songwriter Advice from Hall of Famers” during the festival.

The third concert will be at 8 pm on Saturday, August 27th. This concert will be performed by the Farm Hands, named as “Vocal Group of the Year” and “Gospel Band of the Year” at the 2016 Bluegrass Music Awards. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children ages 5 to 12.

Competitions and Prizes

The Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival is not only for those who like to write songs but for people who love to listen to them. One of the best parts of the festival is the opportunity to hear from the writer what inspired the song that you may have heard on the radio many times. Then you can listen as they perform the original version of the song.

Enjoy this fun-filled weekend and at the close of the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival on Saturday, August 27th there will be a Song Competition Finale and Awards Show. This will be held at The Edgewater Hotel in Gatlinburg. The categories are:

Lyrics Only

Prizes for the competition include a Grand Prize of $500, a Listener’s Choice Award of $250. The Lyrics Only winners are first place $200, second place $125, third place $75. Each genre will include prizes of $125 for first place, $100 for second place, and $75 for third place. The Beaird Music Group will provide the Grand Prize winner with a Premiere Demo valued at $625. The owner of the Country Cobbler in Gatlinburg, Doug McCrossin, will provide all category winners with a handmade leather guitar strap and a sheet music case handcrafted and made of leather for the winner of the Lyrics Only category. Each category winner will also receive studio time provided by Steel String Productions Studio.

This is one of the best events featuring live entertainment and talent in a beautiful mountain setting. Music has deep roots in this area of East Tennessee particularly the Appalachian Mountain Range. This festival honors the heritage and beginnings of many different types of music from the hills of Tennessee.

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