From The Soul

Music moves, creates, builds


Photographs by Courtesy Photo

“These are significant folks,” says Betsy Brumley of the songwriters attending the Power of Music Festival. “People don’t know their names but they know their work. Beth Nielsen Chapman (pictured) wrote ‘This Kiss’ for Faith Hill; Tony Arata wrote ‘The Dance’ for Garth Brooks; Jerry Salley wrote on the ‘Traveller’ album with Chris Stapleton this past year. These guys — if you look at what they’ve written, you’d be shocked.”

What could make music executives from Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Nashville, Toronto and Stockholm and songwriters from around the world all converge on Bentonville for a weekend? How about a new multi-day songwriter festival and music conference?

"There's not really many songwriter festivals in the world. I like to say it's a unicorn, because there's not any," says Betsy Brumley of the I'll Fly Away Foundation. "I just wanted to bring my community what I know and what I'm good at, which is putting on festivals and the music industry, marrying [the two] and raising money for the foundation so that the next generation will have an appreciation for music."


Power of Music Festival

WHEN — Thursday-April 29

WHERE — Venues across Bentonville

COST — Free to $299

INFO — 696-9876, pomfestival.org

The I'll Fly Away Foundation was formed in honor of Brumley's grandfather, who penned the famous hymn of the same name. Its mission is to share the art of songwriting with others, primarily children, in hopes of keeping the art form alive. Through her lifetime of connections within the music industry, Brumley was inspired to invite people from every side of the business to Bentonville for a new festival for everyone: The Power of Music Festival.

"The conference is for anyone who loves music," she offers. "It is for our [local] musicians who want to be professionals; it's for venue owners to help them to attract people; it's even for our tourism folks -- how can we attract people and bring economic impact to this area using music as a source? It's for our community leaders to figure out how we can support that music structure once it comes. So it's really a very community-oriented event."

Panel discussions on everything from women in music to touring to music history (from the people who wrote it) fill in the breaks between performances from more than 50 songwriters across eight stages. And different level ticket prices, including free shows at Lawrence Plaza, give everyone a chance to be part of the festival as much or as little as they wish.

"It's come full circle," Brumley says. "Eighty-five years ago is when 'I'll Fly Away' was published, and so here we are 85 years later celebrating the art of songwriting in the place where [one of] the most recorded songs in history was written. To me, that makes sense."



NAN What's Up on 04/21/2017

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