A scene from the 2012 Crested Butte Songwriters Festival. Courtesy photo by Alex Fenlon.

By J. Berndt
CRESTED BUTTE– (January 15) Crested Butte, the wildflower capitol of Colorado, is covered in snow this time of year, holding strong to the phrase “the last great ski town.” World-famous for its wide range of winter sports, the town has also established a growing reputation as a center for the arts. This month, music fills the air when the 2013 Crested Butte songwriters Fest takes center stage Jan. 18–19th.
Four local businesses will be opening their doors to host the events on Friday night: Maxwell’s, Talk of the Town, The Eldo, and LoBar. All the concerts on this night are just a $5 donation with musicians starting at 8 and 10 p.m.
I contacted Erica Reiter, the Public Relations & Communications Manager at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and she told me, “This year there will be two venues happening simultaneously, with earlier and later shows and also different artists playing at each event to change up the sets.”.
Then on Saturday night The Center for the Arts will host lectures and some music on their stage. With a $50 donation to Tough Enough to Wear Pink, with the “two-in-the-round” benefit shows starting at 6 p.m. and continuing on into the night.
I asked if they expected a better year than the last.
“Yes definitely, especially with our out of town guests,” she said. “We have already doubled our reservations from last year with people who specifically booked for the Crested Butte Songwriters Festival. The organizers have also added two more shows at downtown bars.”
Not only do you get to learn about some of the structure and meaning behind some of the biggest new songs, you will also be helping two respected foundations. The T.J Martell Foundation furthers research for leukemia, cancer, and AIDS. The other is Cattlemen’s Days, Tough Enough to Wear Pink. This is the number one fundraising rodeo in the nation that takes part in the fight for breast cancer. Last year the Songwriters Fest raised more than $40,000.
The festival will bring in a handful of the top writers and musicians in the industry, such as Dean Dillon, Chris Young, Marti Frederiksen, Even Stevens, Paul Overstreet, Colin Lake, Wendell Mobley, Bri Bagwell, Rodney Clawson, Nicolle Galyon, Tyler Hansen & Stephanie Lane Stevenson, Bill Dowell, Chris Coady and The Heard. This group is a country songwriter’s paradise.
Erica added, “The musicians are selected and negotiated through BMI, Broadcast Music, Inc. All of these artists work with BMI, except the local acts of Bill Dowell, Tyler Hansen, Stephanie Lane Stephenson and Colin Lake. We could consider them BMI “hopefuls.” I’m sure a large portion of you like to toss back a few drinks and stay off the roads (which is a great idea). Why not just stay in town for the weekend?
“The best deal [for lodging] is to visit and enter the code CBSONGWRITERSFEST. This is the special group package rate for anyone visiting during this time.”
Have you ever been fascinated by the structure of songs? Do you want to know how they’re brought to life? This would be the festival to attend, no matter your musical preference. This is a chance to look deeper into the sounds of our daily lives and endure the education and absorb the creativity no matter the genre.