Songwriters will be in the spotlight during the first annual Power of Music Festival to be held in Bentonville, Arkansas, April 27-29, 2017. There are few festivals that feature the writers behind hit songs, and Northwest Arkansas will be the home of this newest one. The creation of Betsy Brumley-Bernier, granddaughter of Albert E. Brumley, and her husband, Kevin Bernier, the Power of Music Festival will bring songwriters from all over the United States, as well as outside of it, representing all genres of music.
Betsy says it was Kevin’s idea – he said they knew songwriting, why not have a festival?! Since she grew up in the music business, Betsy was able to reach out to writers and sponsors. She just called the people she already knew. It was a way to honor her grandfather’s memory, as well as benefit the region where she grew up and now lives.
The festival will be composed of both entertaining and educational events. The presenting sponsor for the festival is Coca-Cola. Roger Cook, the writer of “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” which you probably remember from Coca-Cola’s advertising, is appropriately among the songwriters that will attend.
The Power of Music Festival is a fundraiser for the I’ll Fly Away Foundation. Named for Albert Brumley’s well-known southern gospel song, the mission of the foundation is…
…to inspire youth with the power of music by imparting the fundamentals of songwriting. The artistry of songwriting provides youth with a means of self expression, a creative outlet to explore, and a voice to reach out to others.
The foundation works towards its mission by providing a songwriting program called “You Can Fly” to schools. Students attend special daily sessions for one week where they are taught the art and creation of songwriting by an accomplished songwriter. By the end of the week they have collaborated on writing two songs. The program started in public elementary schools in McDonald County, Missouri, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. With the proceeds from the festival, the program will be expanded so that students in Northwest Arkansas can experience its many benefits. The I’ll Fly Away Foundation website lists some amazing statistics that underscore the importance of music to students’ overall achievement. To learn more about the programs and even listen to a few of the songs, visit the “Programs” page of the foundation.
Entertainment will take place at venues around downtown Bentonville. Two or three songwriters on stage will take turns telling the stories behind their songs and then singing them. The performances are all acoustic and will last 60-90 minutes.
To see the complete list of attending artists and their bios, follow this link. You may not recognize some of the names, but chances are that you would be familiar with some of the songs they’ve written.
Informational panels will be offered on different topics related to the music industry. Some of the intriguing titles are “How to Build a Music City,” “Music as a Real Job,” and “Cash for Your Songs.”
A few of the notable guests are:
- Tom Schuyler, whose songs have been recorded by over 200 artists, will have a workshop with local songwriters where he will work with them on their songs.
- Barbara Cloyd has been associated with Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee, for over thirty years. Their famous “Open Mike” nights were her idea and have been credited with the discovery of many well-known artists, including Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks. Open Mike nights have become one of the “go-to” places for aspiring performers and there are more people in line to sing than there are seats for patrons.
A full listing of the panels can be found on the festival website.
All events are open to the public. Some are free and others are ticketed. Free performances will take place at Lawrence Plaza.
- VIP tickets are $299 for all three days. VIPs are seated first in ticketed events and also have access to the Green Room, a hospitality suite for the songwriters and featured speakers. Hurry, as there is a limited quantity of 100 VIP tickets available!
- A weekend pass is $199, but Early Bird rates offer savings if purchased before deadlines.
- Day passes are: Thursday $75; Friday $85, and Saturday $95.
- After ticket holders are seated, remaining seats will be sold at the door.
You can purchase tickets here.
The Power of Music Festival aspires to become the biggest festival of its kind. It’s not too late to become involved, and there are still opportunities for sponsorship. For more information, visit The Power of Music Festival website.
The arts scene in Northwest Arkansas has really changed in recent years. Crystal Bridges museum brought international attention to the area, then a few years ago the Bentonville Film Festival brought celebrities, and now The Power of Music Festival will boost the music industry. If you haven’t visited Northwest Arkansas, you may be pleasantly surprised by all it has to offer.
The Power of Music Festival Facebook Page
The Power of Music Festival website