After testing the concept last year, the organizers of the songwriters-geared Power of Music (POM) Festival in Bentonville, Arkansas are readying a second go-round, scheduled for April 26-29.
This year’s lineup includes Steve Dorff, whose induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame was just announced. Dorff’s credits include Anne Murray’s “I Just Fall in Love Again,” Kenny Rogers’ “Through the Years” and George Strait’s “I Cross My Heart.” His memoir I Wrote That One Too…A Life in Songwriting from Willie to Whitney, was published last year.
Five members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame will also perform at POM: Tony Arata (“The Dance” by Garth Brooks, “Here I Am” by Patty Loveless), Roger Cook (“Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” by The Hollies, “I Just Want to Dance With You” by George Strait), Randy Goodrum (“You Needed Me” by Anne Murray, “Oh Sherrie” by Steve Perry), Richard Leigh (“Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” by Crystal Gayle, “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” by Reba McEntire), and Dennis Morgan (“I Knew You Were Waiting” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael, “Smoky Mountain Rain” by Ronnie Milsap).
Additional performers will include indie Americana trio The Accidentals, Nashville vocal group Farewell Angelina, Latin rock ‘n’ roll band Making Movies, folk artist Steve Poltz (writer of “You Were Meant for Me” by Jewel), songwriter Jerry Salley (“Outlaw State of Mind” by Chris Stapleton), Keith Sykes (“Volcano” by Jimmy Buffett, “You Got Gold” by John Prine), and Emmy-winning composer Jonathan Wolff (Seinfeld, Will & Grace, Married with Children), and numerous local songwriters.
The POM Festival is presented by the I’ll Fly Away Foundation, based in Bentonville. Named after the classic gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” by Albert E. Brumley, the festival strives to make all genres and aspects of music accessible to Bentonville and its surrounding communities, with a portion of its proceeds benefiting the organization’s You Can Fly Songwriting Program allowing school students of varying developmental levels to use songwriting to connect to their own creativity.
As part of the You Can Fly program, established songwriters come into schools to personally write songs with students. It has already been successfully introduced in elementary schools in McDonald Country, Missouri, and is expanding this year into Springdale, Arkansas; it is also part of the curriculum in a charter school in Oklahoma City.
“Songwriting provides insight into a person’s mind by offering a different form of communication,” says Betsy Brumley, granddaughter of Albert E. Brumley and co-founder of the festival with Kevin Bernier. “In addition, songwriting helps people express emotions they may not be able to verbalize. Evidence shows that music education provides an overall improvement in student attendance, improved grades, tolerance and empathy in class and social situations.”
Coca-Cola is the 2018 presenting sponsor of the Power of Music Festival, with additional sponsors including Haxton Road Studios, Whytespyder, Paris Presents Incorporated, and NWArkansasTravelGuide.com. The Recording Academy’s MusiCares charity,which offers emergency financial assistance, addiction recovery resources, and wellness initiatives to members of the music industry, is partnering with POM to provide eligible music professionals with custom ear plugs during the festival.
The full POM festival lineup will be announced in the coming weeks, and will feature songwriters and artists from numerous genres of music.