NASI launches music fest

The Nashville Assn. of Songwriters Intl. will sponsor its first music festival March 8-11 in Music City, the organization confirmed yesterday.

The event will be modeled after New Orleans’ annual Jazz & Heritage Festival (the country’s largest annual music fest) and will be dubbed “Tin Pan South — The City of Songs Celebration.”

Fest organizers plan a four-day salute to songs and songwriters and hope to attract artists from Nashville and across the country.

Plans call for the festival to begin with a “Legendary Songwriters Benefit Concert” at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, followed by three nights of showcases at music clubs throughout the city.

Fest coordinator Beth Raebeck Hall anticipates a lineup of about 75 writers over the four nights, plus surprise guests.

NASI is courting songwriters Carole King, Mark Knopfler, Bernie Taupin, Jimmy Buffett and others, although it has not received firm commitments yet.

Super showcases

“Each night will be super songwriter nights showcasing a variety of different types of music and songs,” Hall says. “(NRBQ member) Al Anderson’s putting together a night and inviting all sorts of cool people,” Hall said. “It’s sort of like putting together great garage bands.”

The size of Nashville clubs will keep audiences small. Tickets for the opening-night benefit (proceeds will go to the Nashville Assn. of Songwriters Intl.) will go on sale Feb. 15.

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