Country music and Nashville’s songwriting scene will take over New England this week for the annual Martha’s Vineyard Songwriting Festival, taking place the 14th-17th. Kickoff events will begin in Boston, with a “Behind the Curtain with Nashville Hit-Makers” writers round featuring Steve Seskin, Lance Carpenter, Heather Morgan, J.T. Harding, and Deric Ruttan on Wednesday (tickets here) and a showcase of rising stars Thursday featuring Native Run, Ben Rue, Martin & Kelly, Kalie Shorr, Sarah Ross, and Logan Brill (tickets here.)
The festival then moves to Martha’s Vineyard, where the songwriters’ workshop, the heart of the festival, begins. For songwriters, the workshop is an incredible opportunity – participants will focus on both the art and business of commercial songwriting, with master classes and constructive critiques given by Steve Seskin, Mason Douglas, Susan Cattaneo, Deric Ruttan, and J.T. Harding, and Bonnie Hayes (Berklee Songwriting Chair; penned Bonnie Raitt’s “Have a Heart” and “Love Letter”). Workshop slots are still available here, and include free food and housing for the writers. Tickets for the Vineyard shows are available here.
“The first year I was invited to come was amazing; I’d never been to the Vineyard, someone backed out last minute and Matt asked if I’d be interested and I said yes sir!” says songwriter Lance Carpenter, whose hits include Kelsea Ballerini’s debut #1 “Love Me Like You Mean It” and who this year will serve as an instructor at the festival. “The second year I was elevated to “Rising Star” status since I was touring more and to come back last year as a hit writer was just too cool,” he continues. “To be sitting shoulder to shoulder with peers in the music business I look up to and admire so much was an unforgettable experience… jokingly the only place up from there was to be put on staff and help instruct some of the workshop, so I’ll be joining Steve Seskin this year as an instructor and we have something very special planned for the students that will give them a glimpse into what it’s like to be in the writing room with a professional songwriter. I’m very grateful to Matt Casey and NETN for allowing this southern boy to be a part of this amazing and fast growing organization and one of my favorite festivals of the year!”
“As a songwriter with a publishing company in Nashville, I get to go down there and experience the incredible amount of writing and talent on a regular basis,” says Neon Music Management’s Matt Casey, founder of the Martha’s Vineyard Songwriting Festival. “So it brings me great joy to be involved with bringing so much incredible talent to Boston and the island because a lot of the attendees of the workshop and shows have never been part of something like this. It’s a little piece of Nashville up North.”
A portion of the proceeds from the Martha’s Vineyard Songwriter’s Festival will be donated to two non-profit organizations benefiting children: Alex’s Place (http://www.alexsplace.net) created through the efforts of The Alexandra Gagnon Foundation to provide safe, enlightening, educational, and entertaining experiences for teens on Martha’s Vineyard; and the Alliance For Children Foundation (AFC) (www.afcfoundation.org) a Massachusetts-based international relief organization devoted to improving the physical and emotional well- being of orphaned and at-risk children worldwide.