Hundreds of singer-songwriters will congregate for the second Third Street Songwriters Festival this weekend.
The event kicks off Friday with performances from David Borné and Michael Juan Nunez performing at 5 p.m. in the free Live After Five concert at The Crest in Galvez Plaza in downtown Baton Rouge.
Performances continue throughout the weekend, with songwriter rounds being held from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at various locations in downtown Baton Rouge on Saturday and at Lucy’s and Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar on Sunday.
Among the highlights this year is a performance from Jeffrey Steele at Manship Theatre at 7 p.m. Saturday. Steele has written hits for country singers like Montgomery Gentry, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts. In 2013, Steele was put into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The performance includes an opening round of songwriters, including CJ Solar, Brent Anderson, Michael Hardy and Jake Mitchell. Tickets for the show are $75.
Kay Solar is the founder and producer of the event. She said the event strengthens the Baton Rouge music scene.
“It will help increase awareness of our live, original music scene,” she said. “It has already been a catalyst to bring local singer-songwriters together.”
Though the event is only in its second year, Solar said she thinks it can grow if the past year is any indication.
“We have a lot of talented songwriters in Baton Rouge, and since the festival last year, they are coming out of the woodworks,” she said. “The festival spawned the Songwriter Sundays at Jolie Pearl, and each week, you can see new talent emerge. I also think that the number of people who love live original music has grown here.”
Solar said this is the only songwriting festival in Louisiana. This year, the event features performances from national talent, too. She is cross-promoting with other songwriting festivals in places such as Pensacola Beach and Mississippi.
In addition to putting a spotlight on local talent, the event shows off those songwriters from Baton Rouge who have moved to Nashville and made a name for themselves. Among those are Solar’s son, CJ, as well as Borné, Jerrod Neimann, Justin Moore and Benjy Davis.
“We have talented singer-songwriters that may not live here now, but are from here,” she said. “It’s just great to highlight all of that talent.”
5 p.m.: Live After 5 featuring David Borné and Michael Juan Nunez
8 p.m.: Michael Juan Nunez at Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar
8:30 p.m.: Vidalia, JT Lewis, Honky Tonk Angels, Brigitte London, and Nicole Johnson at Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s balcony
9:30 p.m.: CJ Solar & Nashville Band of Brothers Jam at Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s main stage
11 p.m.: Benjy Davis & Friends at The Roux House
9:30 a.m.: Industry panel and Alex V. Cook book signing at Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar
1 p.m.-6 p.m.: Singer-songwriter rounds at Jolie Pearl, Hotel Indigo, Lucy’s, and Happy’s
5 p.m.: Stroubes Moonshine & Music Dinner featuring Helen Darling, and Charlie & Dana Hunt Black. Reservations are required.
7 p.m.: Jeffrey Steele at Manship Theatre, featuring an opening singer-songwriter round with CJ Solar, Brent Anderson, Michael Hardy and Jake Mitchell. Tickets are $75.
After-parties at Hotel Indigo, Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s, and The Roux House
11 a.m.: Brunch songwriter rounds at Lucy’s and Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar
3:30 p.m.: Sunday in the Park featuring Todd O’Neill