A chance to witness potential music history

This year the Muscle Shoals Songwriters Festival will occur for the first time in over 20 years. The festival will be a two-day event on Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26 and will feature more than 80 songwriters.

It is no secret that Muscle Shoals is a staple location for major music production and events. With its noteworthy decades of producing talented artists, the Shoals has certainly earned its place as a musical powerhouse. Lillian Glanton, a UNA sophomore and Entertainment Business major, is the founder of this year’s festival. She is also the founder of the Muscle Shoals Songwriters Association.

Glanton has worked tirelessly for more than a year raising funds and organizing the event. Sponsors like Listerhill Credit Union, Alabama Bicentennial and Muscle Shoals Song Rooms have been major contributors to putting on the event.

The Muscle Shoals Songwriters Festival will allow songwriters to showcase their talents as writers and performers. Shows will be held at six different locations across the Shoals area including Singin’ River Live, Swampers, The Mane Room, Champy’s, 306 Barbecue and Dorm Eleven. Shows will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, and on Saturday they will begin at noon continuing throughout the day into the night.

As a songwriter herself, Glanton stresses that the festival is all about the song and the story behind it.

“It’s not even about how well the songwriter performs the song,” Glanton said. “Their song and their story…that was what I wanted to capture with the festival.”

Glanton said that she wants this to be one of the most prestigious songwriters festivals in the world.

While it was originally planned to be a showcase for hit songwriters only, it gained so much attention from other songwriters that Glanton decided to expand the event to more people. Those interested submitted an application to be considered as a participant. Approximately 80 were selected out of 200 applicants. Some were students; some were locals; some were non-natives to the Shoals or even to Alabama.

All performances are free admission except for the two hit songwriters shows with acts such as Mark Nesler, Leslie Satcher and UNA’s own Walt Aldridge. Some of the performers have written songs for icons like Ariana Grande, Willie Nelson, George Strait, Blake Shelton and more. These two performances will be Friday at 7 p.m. at Singin’ River Live and Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Mane Room. Those interested in purchasing tickets can pay $15 online, $20 at the door or may obtain a weekend pass for $25 on the event website: www.muscleshoalssongwritersfestival.com/tickets.

UNA senior Margaret Carpenter enjoys songwriting and performing when possible. She is looking forward to attending some performances and seeing acts like Ty Gracey, Jecky Bean Band and My One and Only. When describing her preferred type of music, Carpenter said: “I mean at the end of the day my favorite music all has to do with the lyrics.”

Ty Gracey is one of the many talented acts that will be taking to the stage on Saturday afternoon at Dorm Eleven. When he’s not onstage, he is Tylor Harris, a senior and Music Industry Cognate student at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has been singing, songwriting, and playing different instruments such as the guitar for about 12 years.

Gracey said that music has been a consistent means for learning about God, himself and other people. He believes the best part about being an artist and getting to perform his own work is “reaching a point of shared vulnerability with someone because that refreshing exchange of honesty disrupts the social bubbles we live in,” he said.

Applications for next year’s songwriters festival will be available in January. There is a $25 fee to apply and send in a submission to be considered as a potential participant.

For more information regarding the Muscle Shoals Songwriters Festival, visit www.muscleshoalssongwritersfestival.com or contact Lillian Glanton via email at [email protected] or via Instagram @muscleshoalssf.