Southport Songwriter Festival

“It All Starts with the Song” Inaugural Southport Songwriter Festival starts June 19

Everyone I know loves songs and music to some degree and most have a favorite style. Some of us are totally into music either through listening all the time to actually playing, producing or writing music or songs. Here in Southport, we have an abundance of opportunities to be inspired to sing, write or produce music based on the lifestyle and beauty of our area. Resident Louisa Branscomb is here to help put those inspirations into practice with her upcoming first annual Southport Songwriter Festival (S2F) June 19-21, and songwriting retreats held throughout the year. Branscomb is considered a giant in acoustic songwriting, a pioneer for women in bluegrass and a strong advocate for songwriters. Louisa, along with Alison Krauss, is credited with bringing a whole new generation, particularly young women, into bluegrass with the release of Krauss’s overnight international hit, “Steel Rails,” penned by Branscomb.
“S2F has three goals,” says Branscomb. “For aspiring or professional songwriters it will provide exposure to nationally prominent songwriters, opportunities for professional camaraderie and education. For the community, it takes music beyond entertainment to make songwriting an accessible, better understood art form. And for the town of Southport, it will showcase our special community, along with its music, arts, culture and diverse businesses.”
Just like the artist is inspired to paint the landscape or ocean scene, the musician is also inspired to write or sing about the same types of inspiring beauty or lifestyle. It’s all art it’s just in different forms. For some the music comes as easy as waking up and thinking new thoughts and capturing them in song or music. For others it’s a dream or desire that just doesn’t quite come so easily. With S2F, musicians can hear other musicians talk about their songwriting as they play original compositions, to get at the heart of what it takes to write a song. This kickoff festival will lead into other educational events and opportunities provided by Branscomb and PorchSong Productions throughout the year.


singer2For this inaugural festival, Branscomb has invited co-writer Claire Lynch to share in the songwriting spotlight. Branscomb and Lynch recently won the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Song of the Year Award for “Dear Sister.” Long recognized and praised as a creative force in acoustic music, Claire Lynch is another woman-in-bluegrass pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the genre. She was the 2013, 2010 and 1997 IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year and has had two GRAMMY nominations. Dolly Parton credits Lynch with “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today.”
Jeanette Williams completes the featured bill of powerhouse female singer-songwriters. Jeanette boasts multiple IBMA Female Vocalist awards and shares songwriting acclaim with music and life partner, Johnny Williams. Williams, a master bluegrass guitarist and singer, holds the distinction of being the only 3-time winner of the Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriter contest, generally considered the most prestigious award for bluegrass songwriters.
With renowned talent, the Southport Songwriter Festival is part of an ongoing mission to:
* Sponsor and support local, regional, and national songwriters and celebrate original music
*Provide songwriter events for songwriters and the general public
*Contribute to Southport’s visibility as a unique, special artistic community, and benefit Southport’s art, culture, and businesses.


writing-on-porchThis event will be a collective effort for interested Southport musicians, vendors, and residents sponsored by Branscomb’s PorchSong Productions Branscomb believes that music is about community, and “it all starts with the song.”

The events include:

Friday, June 19, 7-9 pm – Yacht Basin Eatery. Louisa Branscomb along with Jeremy Truett, and the “Rev,” Daniel Guestchow, host a lineup of Southport’s finest songwriters, including some newcomers to the area and writers with roots in Southport and an open mic for aspiring songwriters on a first-come first-serve basis at Yacht Basin Eatery in Southport, 7:30- 11:00pm.

Saturday, June 20, 2-4 p.m. Featuring performances and descriptions of the songs and their origins by Claire Lynch with Bryan McDowell; and Louisa Branscomb with Jeanette and Johnny Williams OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Saturday June 20, 5-6 p.m. – Songwriter talks and performances -Guest artists to be announced OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Two house concerts will be presented over the weekend at private venues. Since space is limited, please contact PorchSong Productions’ ticket coordinator at

The festival will support Southport’s vibrant live music scene with the weekend’s emphasis on the song itself, and the great music boasted by area artists. To keep up with all of the exciting updates to this 1st Annual Southport Songwriters Festival visit the Facebook page “Southport Songwriter Festival.” There will be new additions to this exciting event that will be posted on the Facebook page and the Southport Magazine Facebook page as they are added.
With this first festival, Branscomb wants to raise awareness of the mission of S2F, and involve the community in a “trial run”. Her goal next year is to increase sponsorship and host an outside festival, bringing in a broader slate of original music from different genres. Branscomb also hopes to have a stage or area for children, as well as a stage for local and regional songwriters. Branscomb also wants to have a variety of events in the evening in different venues, designed to create a “house concert” atmosphere in local venues. “Our goal is to step away from the detached world of online and corporate music, and bring back the ‘front porch,'” Branscomb said. ¬ “It’s a way for people to sit together and listen up close and face to face with artists as they share their music.”
Branscomb welcomes help to get this first-year event off the ground. She encourages sponsors to contribute to the effort via GOFUNDME or make a payment via PayPal at and please state, in the box option, that it is for S2F.
This event is sure to be a lot of fun and will certainly help those of us that can merely write stories to convert or process them into a song so bring the entire family and prepare to be inspired!

One Response to Southport Songwriter Festival

  1. Johnny Ray Price says:

    Many kudos to the organizers for their hard work and effort in getting the songwriter festival up and running. My daughter lives in Southport and we visited her this weekend and saw your signs. She suggested I try to find out more about the event being I am an amateur singer/songwriter with originals on the keyboard. Not sure if the event is mainly for acoustic performers (and maybe even keyboards) but will be checking into that. Also, I love the front porch music analogy you presented. It’s great to be able to hone a craft but even greater to do it for others to enjoy in a live face to face settings like the ones you are planning.

    Kindest Regards!

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