Twenty-nine accomplished Nashville songwriters who include Grammy award winners and nominees, stage performers in major bands, record producers, publishers and more will all come to share their love of songwriting and share their chart topping hits. These talented individuals will be playing their songs and telling the stories behind them, at the Fourth Annual Sandy Lee Watkins Songwriters Festival featuring Henderson native and award winning songwriter, Kerry Kurt Phillips and friends. (See attached Performer Profiles).
There will be 22 shows in four days; two sets nightly in three downtown Henderson venues giving a true Nashville feel to the festivities. The three locations within one downtown walking block will be Rookies Sports Bar on 2nd Street, Delizio Restaurant on 2nd in the first floor of the Soaper Building and RiverBend Academy in the 2nd floor of the Soaper building at 2nd and Main.
Tickets are now on sale through the online ticket link on www.SandyLeeSongfest.com All Access Passes must be purchased in advance before July 30 and provide the best value while giving patrons VIP early entry seating over general door admission. Individual select shows may be bought at the door of venues as long as space allows in each show. (See attached Ticketing Information & Event Schedule.)
All proceeds benefit the nonprofit RiverBend Academy which provides instruction and mentoring for children in art and music. The festival is made possible by sponsors Henderson Chevrolet Buick and GMC, Ellis Park, Myriad CPA Group, Meuth Construction, Starlite Smiles, Sholar Center, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and others. There will be a number of auction items at the event featuring signed guitars, handwritten lyrics and many other fan and sponsor items. (See attached Auction Items.)
"These are shows these guys and gals do every night in Nashville and all over the country," says the hit making songwriter and festival host, Kerry Kurt Phillips. "You never fully know who you will see, what you will hear and more than likely you will be privy to a hit before its recorded."
"I love it as people watch a show and suddenly discover who they are listening to, how big they are not just in Nashville, but within the world of music and people walk away just buzzing about it for months," said Susie Watkins who chairs the event in memory of her husband, Sandy Lee. "They're acoustic and intimate; spontaneous and unscripted and after the shows, you get to rub elbows with some greats; the heart and soul behind songs."
Sandy Lee Watkins was the Henderson County Kentucky Judge-Executive for 16 years before his sudden passing while in office. He took vacations to go to songwriter events across the country and always wanted such a festival in Henderson.
"Several are stars in their own right like two-time Grammy award winner Rebecca Lynn Howard, Jim "Moose" Brown from Bob Segar's Silver Bullet Band and Billy Crain who has been a driving force on the Southern Rock and Rock scene for three decades as his band The Outlaws toured extensively with the Allman Brothers Band, Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, The Charlie Daniels Band, Molly Hatchett, ZZ Top, Rossington-Collins, and many others," said Mac Neel, co-chair of the event. "But you get much, much more than big names as all 29 are stars including those writer's who 'just write' for a living."
"It's great fun made all the sweeter because it benefits art and music for kids and in the name of Sandy Lee," added Phillips.
For aspiring songwriters or anyone interested in the craft, a Songwriters Workshop and Roundtable, (Sanctioned by The Nashville Songwriters Association International) will be held Saturday, August 3, 10 a.m. at RiverBend Academy. Kerry Kurt and other pro writers will answer questions about the music business, talk about how to become a better songwriter, and if time allows, critique a few songs.
Additionally, an amateur Songwriter's Competition sponsored by Shure and Sweetwater Music will conclude at midnight August 3. Prizes include a studio recording session and a guest performance of the winning song on the closing show of next year's Songfest. Online entry details are on the website.
For more information on the festival events or the songwriting competition, visit www.SandyLeeSongfest.com .