by TaLeiza Calloway
So often songwriters are told, “Shut up and play.”
That won’t be the case during the second annual “Weekend of Songs: Songwriters’ Festival” that kicks off today, said Dave Cofell, one of the event’s co-founders. The festival is Aug. 24-26.
“We want to hear their stories,” Cofell said. “This is a great opportunity for songwriters to share their process and talk about why they wrote the songs.”
Though designed to bring songwriters together to demonstrate their abilities and vibe off each other’s talents, the event is not just for the songwriter, said Adam Hammer, co-founder of the event. Whether it’s folk, blues or alternative rock, the goal is to offer something for everyone. There is no set list.
“This is very much community-driven,” Hammer said. “It is just as much about the listener as the audience.”
Hammer and Cofell came up with the idea to host an outdoor music festival. With limited resources, their brainstorming eventually produced the Weekend of Songs. Support from the owners of the Local Blend has been amazing, he said.
“We could not have done this without them,” Hammer said.
At the request of participants last year, this year’s festival will feature more songwriters in-the-round. New to the event this year is the addition of an 18-hour “Songwriters’ Challenge.” Hammer explained at the end of open mic on day two, the theme for the challenge will be announced.
Those who choose to participate will be given 18 hours to write a song on said theme and are invited back at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 to perform their songs. Featured performers from the previous days will help judge the challenge, and winners will be awarded prizes from festival sponsors such as Ham’s Music.
Friday’s performances will feature headliners Tom VandenAvond from Austin, Texas, and Soda Gardocki from Knights Ferry, Calif., while Saturday’s main event features blues in-the-round with Leon Laudenbach trading songs with Rena Haus. Other in-the-round performances include locals John Larson, Hammer and Cofell.
Other events during the festival include songwriter meet-ups at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The meet-ups are a chance for songwriters to get together and talk shop over coffee, which may incite acoustic jam sessions.
Advance tickets can be purchased at the Local Blend. The Local Blend will be open for regular business during the Weekend of Songs.