August 1-4 Sandy Lee Watkins Songwriter’s Festival Performances Announced
Ticket Sales Begin & Songwriters Competition Launched
Writers of blockbuster songs like Brad Paisley’s “Waitin’ On A Woman,” Tim McGraw’s “Down On The Farm,” George Strait’s “Troubadour,” and Tanya Tucker’s “Two Sparrows In A Hurricane” will be performing in Henderson, August 1-4.
More than a dozen Nashville songwriters will be playing their hits and telling the stories behind them, at the Third Annual Sandy Lee Watkins Songwriters Festival featuring Henderson native and award winning songwriter, Kerry Kurt Phillips and friends. (See attached Performer Profiles).
Tickets will go on sale beginning Monday, July 9, at 10 a.m., through the Henderson Fine Arts Center box office at 800-291-3402 or through the ticket link on www.SandyLeeSongfest.com. All Access Passes, Party Passes or individual select events may be bought through the box office or at the door of venues as space allows. (See attached Ticketing Information & Event Schedule.)
This year the festival expands from two days of performances to four, and will include more hit songwriters as well as up and coming young writers. The event benefits the nonprofit RiverBend Academy, which provides instruction and mentoring for children in the performing arts.
“Patrons of these events will not only hear the songs by these hit-makers and the stories behind creating them, but they may also hear the next big hit before it’s even recorded,” said Susie Watkins who leads the event in memory of her husband, Sandy Lee. Sandy Lee Watkins was the Henderson County Kentucky Judge-Executive for 16 years before his sudden passing while in office.
“Sandy Lee loved songwriters and often traveled across the country to hear them perform. He knew the writers and the history of their songs and was excited to see the first songwriters event take place in Henderson,” added Susie. Songwriters will be performing in various venues in downtown Henderson over three days with a two hour show grand finale on the fourth day at the Henderson Fine Arts Center Saturday night. (See the attached Festival Schedule). The festival is made possible by sponsors Ohio Valley Marine Service, Chase Fulcher Farm Bureau Insurance, Henderson Chevrolet Buick and GMC, Myriad CPA Group, Meuth Construction and others.
“These shows are what we do every night in Nashville and all over the country,” says the hit making songwriter and festival host, Kerry Kurt Phillips. “ They’re acoustic, small and they’re intimate; spontaneous and unscripted. Most of us don’t know what we’re goin’ to play until we play it.”
“You don’t have to be interested in songwriting as a hobby or profession or even be a country music fan,” said Mac Neel, co- chair of the event, “You will laugh so hard your sides hurt and then hear songs that bring you to tears.”
“Every single show is different,” added Phillips. “You get to hear what the song sounded like when the writer wrote it, before it was homogenized and pasteurized. We call these types of shows ‘rounds’ in Nashville. Most people love it the first time they experience one and come back for more. You can meet and talk to some of the best tunesmiths in the world through events like this and support a good cause.”
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 4, 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 Disc Maker and Sweetwater Music will begin on July 9, and run through September. Prizes include a studio recording session and a guest performance of the winning song on the closing show of next year’s Songfest.
For more information on the festival or the songwriting competition, go to www.sandyleesongfest.com.