We’re quickly closing in on another Highway 80 Songwriter’s Festival in Demopolis. This year’s event will return to its usual venue, the Public Square in downtown Demopolis, on Saturday, July 2nd and will begin at 6pm.
While I don’t spend a lot of time going to music venues, I do enjoy music of many different types – some more and some less than others. That said, I really do enjoy the scene and atmosphere of the Songwriter’s Festival.
The atmosphere is top notch. There are no rabid fans and there’s no pushing and shoving to get the best view. People of all ages, from babies to great-great grandpaw, are scattered all over the park, in lawn chairs, on blankets and on the ground. Even some family dogs get to tag along for the evening. It always feels laid back and everyone seems to be chilled and ready for some stress-free entertainment.
Another thing that I enjoy is the fact that the singers/songwriters are accessible to everyone. There are no hulking bodyguards keeping people at a safe distance. It’s easy to walk up, introduce yourself and chat with the singers/songwriters. One of the highlights of the events that I have photographed is getting to talk at length with Rick Asherson. Rick is married to Debbie Bond, who is one of the top blues singers in Alabama. I’ve always been interested in people who “don’t sound like they are from here” and Rick had a British accent. So, I got to have a conversation with Rick about how he ended up in Alabama.
Additionally, there are the former residents that many of us grew up with, grew up with their parents or a combination of both. It’s always great to get to hear the Alan Hartzells, Shawn Pfaffmans and Mel Knapps of the music business and get to talk with them and hear about where life and music has taken them.
I know those are just my personal feelings about the Songwriter’s Festival, but I believe that they are good enough reasons to make an effort to come out and enjoy some of what Demopolis has to offer – even on a possibly warm, humid summer afternoon. And, hey, the price of admission isn’t too bad either!