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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Four Days of Song

Bloomington’s Cosmic Songwriter’s Festival turns two

Being a songwriter, as well as a festival buff, I was determined to check out the second annual Cosmic Songwriter’s Festival May 15-18 in Bloomington, Indiana. The idea of showcasing local artists and national-touring, seasoned singer-songwriters piqued my interest.

The organizers assemble the lineup through a combination of outreach, inbound artists, personnel connections, and through their monthly Cosmic Artist Showcase.

The event is presented as a Nashville, Tennessee-style Listening Room setting, in a different venue each night: The Bluebird Nightclub, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, the Orbit Room, and the Blockhouse Bar. There are three sets each night, with two performers per set. Conversation between the artists seemed relaxed and natural during each performance, they complemented each other on songs, and told stories behind their own music.

Gabe Lee and Emily Nenni by Art Woodward

The Cosmic Songwriter’s Festival is the brainchild of organizers Pablo “Oso” Fuentes, and Shaun McDermott, both transplants to Bloomington and musicians themselves, who became friends after sitting together on the board of the historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

This year the headliners were Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers; Gabe Lee, a critically acclaimed Nashville artist whose songs shapeshift from country, folk, and rock; Tre Brut, a Sacramento native signed to John Prine’s, Oh Boy Records label; Melissa Carper a 1940s-style crooner with whimsical, two-step tunes; Jeremy Pinnell, a musical troubadour from the Cincinnati, Ohio, area; Caleb Stine, a singer/songwriter and visual artist, and Carrie Newcomer, a songwriter, performer, author, educator, and philanthropist who calls Bloomington home.

While my nights were filled with music, my days were full too. It seems there is always something happening in Bloomington. The best places to get the 411 on local events are at Visit Bloomington’s website, or by checking out local radio station, WFHB’s website calendar.

The Bloomington, Indiana, festival goes for four consecutive nights. Ticket prices range from $14.50 to $22.50 for single day passes, or $38.50 for the entire festival, which is reasonable, considering there are 24 artists featured.

I highly recommend this fest, and plan on returning next year. Maybe a group of us Evansvillians will make the trek together, dine in unique restaurants, hit up the cafes, visit some of the shops that surround the town square, and perhaps even do some hiking … that is, if we aren’t too tired from all the fun we had the night before. Hope to see you there!

Art the Dude

Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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