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Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival: Composers in the Spotlight

by S. Lynne on September 11th, 2017

The famous Flora-Bama Lounge on Perdido Key

Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival singer/guitarist

Photo by Beth Childs

The Gulf of Mexico and its white-sand beaches are the backdrop every fall for the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival. Rated one of the top 20 events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society, the Frank Brown festival showcases the talents of songwriters from around the world.

This year, the festival opens November 9, 2017 for nearly two weeks of great music, written and performed by the songwriters themselves. This is the 33rd year for this popular event, which will feature more than 200 performers at some two dozen venues from downtown Pensacola and Perdido Key, Florida, to Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Bon Secour, and Silverhill, Alabama. The festival regularly draws around 40,000 people to the area.

Described as the “grandaddy of songwriter festivals” by both Billboard and American Songwriters magazines, the event is named for the late Frank Brown, long-time night watchman at the Flora-Bama. Mr. Frank, as he was known to Flora-Bama regulars, loved music and was the last person the performers saw every night at closing time.

A one-of-a-kind event, the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival focuses on the composers and the stories behind the songs — how and why they wrote some of the world’s greatest hits — rather than on the performers who made them famous. And because many of the entertainment venues are small, the songwriters also have plenty of chances to interact with the audience.

Frank Brown Songwriters Festival 2017 poster by Alan Woolford

Poster art by Alan Woolford.

This year’s performers include Dean Dillon, who has written hits for George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, and Lee Ann Womack; the popular Alabama Gulf Coast-based husband/wife duo Sugarcane Jane; Jan Buckingham, who has written for both television and film, and who has created hits for Pam Tillis, Whitney Houston, George Jones, and Melissa Manchester; Brent Burns, another award-winning Gulf Coast favorite; and Steve Dean, who has co-written hit songs with Rodney Atkins, The Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, George Strait, Lee Greenwood, and Reba McEntire.

Admission to most venues is free, although some may have a small cover charge. Performances will continue daily through November 19. For more information, visit frankbrownsongwriters.com.

Where To Stay During the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival

November is off-season at the Northwest Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast beaches, and plenty of vacation rentals are available at reasonable rates. For places to stay in the area, check out our listings of condos, beach houses, and hotels at Gulf Shores Vacation Rentals, Orange Beach Vacation Rentals,  Perdido Key Vacation Rentals, and Pensacola Beach Vacation Rentals. Some properties are offering special rates and beach vacation package deals during the songwriters’ festival. We feature convenient online booking for many of the properties on our Website.

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