MS Songwriters Festival draws hundreds to Gulf Coast

OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi (WLOX) – The Mississippi Songwriters Festival is taking over downtown Ocean Springs and Gautier.

Over a hundred songwriters from across the country are releasing new music right here on the coast, and new faces are joining the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The 13th Annual Mississippi Songwriters Festival draws hundreds to the Gulf Coast for a 4-day event.

Southern tunes fill the halls of the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center.

“The beauty of the Gulf Coast is that it’s open to all kinds of musical genres. For a songwriter to come down, we are welcome with open arms. And people want to hear the songs that were written on the radio or on television. Something like that,” Gasaway said.

Gasaway is a board member of the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance. He names the Magnolia State at the forefront of what we hear today.

“The Mississippi Gulf Coast is the birthplace of American music,” Gasaway said.

And the council makes sure to pay homage to these legends.

High on the agenda is inducting new members into the Hall of Fame and honoring those who have paved the way.

Five artists were inducted at the ceremony, bringing the total number of members to 16.

“People don’t realize the people who made those great songs in Mississippi and we want to have a place to honor them and show off all kinds of genres, from Jimi Hendrix to Conway Twitty,” Brad Bohannan said. “It’s great to see everyone and people being like, ‘I didn’t know they were from Mississippi. They’re singing my hometown.

Other inductees included Gentry, Robert Johnson and Clay Mills.

Scott Stradtner says it’s essential to provide a space that showcases local, national and international talent.

“One of our missions for the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance is to honor, protect and preserve Mississippi’s rich musical heritage. This is the best way to do it. We have the blues. We have rock and roll We’ve had several singer-songwriters here locally who are pop writers,” Stradtner said.

Within the next year, the Mississippi Songwriter Hall of Fame Center and Amphitheater will open in Gautier.

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