Local organizations and business owners are working together to bring a three day songwriter’s festival to Boone on Sept. 9, 10, and 11, 2021.
The organizers believe the festival will draw more than 3,500 people to downtown venues and Booneshine Brewery during the three day event that will feature an impressive list of songwriters and special activities. The Boone Chamber of Commerce, Town of Boone, Downtown Boone Development Association, Watauga County Tourism Development Authority, Lost Province and Booneshine Brewery are working closely with Working Title Farm to bring the festival to town at a time they hope will signal the beginning of a return to more normalcy.
The festival is the brainchild of Shari Smith of Working Title Farm. Located, as Smith says “five minutes out and five hundred feet above King Street,” Working Title Farm is a gathering place for authors and songwriters, many from Nashville, who come to the cabins there to work on a book or record, to co-write, to retreat, or to get some inspiration for their latest project.
“It’s not a farm in the traditional sense”, said Smith, “It’s a different kind of cultivation where songs and stories are what we’re harvesting.”
The idea for a songwriters festival came to Smith when she was hired by Broadcast Music Incorporated to go to Key West and write for their website about the Key West Songwriters Festival.
“Boone is the perfect setting, so many great venues, a beautiful location and a supportive group of people who want to help, ” said Smith.
The three day festival will begin on Thursday evening by showing the film, “Without Getting Killed or Caught”, a documentary on the life and music of legendary songwriter Guy Clark at The Appalachian Theatre.
Before the screening of the film, a show of friends of Clark and Van Zandt will perform songs and tell stories of writing with Guy.
Smith isn’t announcing that lineup just yet but, hinted that it might not be difficult to figure out who some of the friends might be.
“It probably isn’t hard to figure out who will be there but I have a couple of surprises,” said Smith.
On Friday, Sept. 10, the focus will shift to East Boone and an outdoor concert and Welcome Party.
Saturday, Sept. 11, downtown bars and venues will be full of songwriters and their fans. Songwriters will be scheduled in over twenty-five locations so that festival goers can see as many of their favorites as possible. Three ticketed events will be on the rooftop of The Horton Hotel. Music will go on throughout the day on a special stage behind Lost Province and Mast General Store.
A songwriter lead hike will leave from Ben & Jerry’s and end with a special concert by Baby, The Sugar Maple. Radney Foster will sing, “Angel Flight”, his tribute to the pilots who bring home the fallen in honor of 911 at the Veterans Memorial. A Spotlight Show at Appalachian Theatre titled, “Voices” is scheduled for Saturday evening followed by The Late Night Jam on the outdoor stage. All the songwriters will be invited to take turns singing their favorite songs, their own or songs penned by others, backed by the Antlers and Acorns Band ending the night and the festival.
Tickets will go on sale soon. Information is first announced on the Antlers and Acorns Facebook page where songwriters are already being announced. Money from each ticket sold will be donated to The Blue Ridge Conservancy, the official environmental project of Working Title Farm.
“We want the land to remain wild and protected and an inspiration to the words we try to conjure to put in books and songs,” said Smith