Award-winning songwriter Louisa Branscomb and her non-profit, Front Porch Productions, will host the first Southport Songwriter Festival this weekend in the coastal town of Southport, NC.
But unlike many similar events, this one isn’t centrally located, but spread across a number of parks and venues in Southport. Louisa has contracted with some top songwriters and musicians to help communicate her mission, including such stellar artists as Claire Lynch, Jeanette Williams, and Johnny Williams.
This may sound like a very different approach, but it’s precisely what Branscomb wanted.
“From what I know, this is the first event of its kind. It evolved from my model of teaching songwriting at my retreats for the last 25 years, expanded to a community model. While it is a songwriter festival, it sees songs as the center of community, and then works in an integrated way to bring members of venues, colleges, schools, and non-writing musicians into a collaborative relationship that serves the goals of presenting songwriting as an art, and agent of social community.
I picked this community because it is a rare place with natural beauty and which is a true ‘village,’ so I have a staff of about 40, over 100 contributing sponsors, and 35 performing musicians, with Jeanette and Johnny Williams (who will be appearing with me) and Claire and Bryan McDowell, with the focus on original songs.
So its truly an activist, or community advocacy model, with the ‘song,’ or the original song at its core.”
In addition to the various performances in town, many of which will feature local writers, Louisa will conduct a workshop for songwriters at nearby Brunswick Community College.
The festival runs from June 19-21. A complete schedule of this weekend’s activities can be found on the festival’s Facebook page.