Welcome to the land where blues began

Grammy Award Hitmakers Converge on Ferriday, Louisiana


October 5, 2010 (Ferriday, Louisiana) - On Saturday, October 23rd, the world of hit songwriting comes to historic Ferriday, Louisiana, as three of the music industry's top hitmakers headline the third annual Ferriday Song Fest.

"This is a rare opportunity to learn songwriting tips from professional writers who do this day in and day out," explained festival organizer Tommy Polk. "Our panelists are professional songwriters with Top 40 and Grammy Award-winning songs on their resumes."

Held at the Arcade Theater (part of the popular Delta Music Museum), the Ferriday Song Fest provides an opportunity for burgeoning songwriters to learn both the art and business of songwriting from experienced industry insiders.

This year's featured panelists include Grammy-nominated Odie Blackmon, Grammy-winner Kenny Greenberg and three-time Grammy-winner Ashley Cleveland. They will discuss the craft of songwriting, techniques in the creative process and insight into the music business. This detailed, highly-personal workshop will delve into the dos and don'ts and the ins and outs of songwriting. It will also include a critique of one song by each attendee.

"Our event attracts kindred spirits - writers, singers, musicians, studio owners," said Polk. "It's a wonderfully varied group that's interested in the creative process, the music business and how money is made with songs. We expect attendees from coast to coast."

Ferriday Song Fest kicks off bright and early on Saturday, October 23rd at 9am and runs all day long. At 6pm, workshop attendees move to Bowie's Tavern in nearby Natchez, Mississippi, for a special open mic event.

In addition to sharing a passion for song, festival attendees typically have something else in common. They are passionate about the event itself.

"The Song Fest workshop has been the highlight of my fall for the last two years," said past attendee Taylor Craven. "This is an intimate, first-class event. It should be the envy of similar events around the U.S."

Fellow attendee Ron Eckert concurred, saying, "Ferriday Song Fest gave me the confidence I needed to record four of my songs in Nashville."

And Jamie Burley, Director of the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce, added: "Not only do you get great tips and tricks for songwriting, you also get to hear and enjoy experiences of songwriters who have written many top hits."

One such songwriter is Grammy-nominated Odie Blackmon who returns as a workshop panelist. Perhaps best known for Lee Ann Womack"s CMA single of the year "I May Hate Myself In The Morning," Gary Allan's chart-topper "Nothing On But The Radio," and George Strait"s No. 1 country hit "She"ll Leave You With A Smile," Blackmon has turned teaching into a second career.

"In addition to Ferriday Song Fest, I've been teaching songwriting at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music," Blackmon explained. "I also released an instructional DVD recently on Amazon.com called 'The Craft of Writing Hit Songs.' I'm always looking for new ways to help teach and inspire up-and-coming songwriters."

Another previous panelist, Ralph Murphy of ASCAP, said that in addition fo the creative aspects, he appreciated the business side of the Song Fest workshop. "Watching aspiring songwriters and artists discover the opportunities and pitfalls of the music business is a wonderful thing," he explained. "Arming them for success now saves them time and money later."

The Ferriday Song Fest is organized by Tommy Polk, also a hit songwriter and panelist at this year's event. Polk has written songs for everyone from Crystal Gayle to Bobby "Blue" Bland. Three years ago, he created the fest at the behest of Ferriday Mayor Glenn McGlothin to help shine a light on the town's rich musical heritage.

"Ferriday is the birthplace of Jerry Lee Lewis and home to the Delta Music Museum," according to Polk. "Back in the day, musical icons like B.B. King, Fats Domino and Irma Thomas played here regularly. It makes perfect sense to hold our event here as well."

Advance registration for the Ferriday Song Fest is $20 per person and includes the workshop and entry to open mic night. The event is $25 at the door - first come, first serve (with no guarantees).

"We're looking forward to another successful year and expect to see plenty of new faces," Polk said. "Our event is a both a truly enjoyable and memorable event that also happens to be amazingly helpful and educational. Folks really seem to get a lot out of it."

Sponsors of Ferriday Song Fest include the Town of Ferriday, State of Louisiana, Delta Music Museum, Friends of Delta Music Museum, Phat River Studios, 95 Country, Solid Gold Saturday Night, Natchez Grand Hotel, Bowie's Tavern, Louisiana Economic Development (LED), BASF, Tipitina's Foundation, Fox 48 (WNTZ), Budweiser, Representative Andy Anders, Stan's Strings, Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and Walmart.



2013 Award
IMLS logo
NEA logo
mac logo
NAHYP logo

This newsletter is supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and, in part, from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

This site is made possible through support from the Mississippi Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rock River Foundation.

Exhibits, Events and More!

This site made possible through the support of Mississippi Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rock River Foundation.

Support for the Delta Blues Foudation, Inc has been provided by explore.org, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation.

Latest Posts

Museum Contact information

1 Blues Alley
Clarksdale, MS 38614
Phone: 662-627-6820
Email: info@deltabluesmuseum.org