Demopolis to host songwriters festival

Tourism and the arts are the focus of a new Demopolis venture that promises to draw music lovers to the city.

The West Alabama East Mississippi Songwriters Festival – or WAEM Songfest – is a partnership between Demopolis and Meridian that will feature a number of singer/songwriters when it has its inception July 5 and 6.

“What we’re trying to do is keep some of those folks who will be in town for Freedom on the River or get some new folks coming into town on Friday and Saturday,” Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson said.

The city will utilize Marengo Café and Foscue House Friday, July 5 for its songwriters showcase as musicians play acoustic sets throughout the evening.

Saturday, July 6, the barbecue field, playground pavilion and city landing pavilion will be utilized for more artists to display their talents.

“It’ll still be the unplugged type thing. It’ll be more bands. It’s low key but should be fun,” Grayson said of the endeavor.

The initiative is a partnership with the Lauderdale Tourism Bureau and will serve as the precursor to a larger festival that will take place in Meridian in September.

“What we’re doing this year in 2013 is kind of the taste. It is a smaller, condensed version,” Grayson explained. “The third week in September, we’re going to take what we learned in Demopolis and replicate it in Meridian in several venues over there. Then in 2014, we will have the big songwriters festival. The end game on this is to establish another industry, which is the tourism dollar coming to Demopolis. Ultimately what we’re trying to do is promote the arts.”

In their efforts to promote the arts, WAEM Songfest organizers hope to develop into the link between the well-established songwriter communities both north and south of them.

“What we’re trying to do is be the link between the Mississippi Delta and Gulf Shores,” Grayson said.