Tin Pan South 2023–Welcome to Songwriter Utopia
5 nights / 10 venues / 98 shows / 400+ performers
Tuesday, March 28-Saturday, April 1 If you appreciate the craft of songwriting, Tin Pan South is for you. Yes, you’ll hear hits from the people who crafted them. But I’ve always enjoyed the stories behind the songs and those cherished jewels that have never been recorded or never been on the radio. (Above: Bluebird Cafe)
You can purchase fast-access passes or single-show tickets in advance, or test your luck at the cash line. Please note: holding a pass or single ticket does NOT guarantee admission. Doors will close when capacity is reached. Bottom line: arrive early to ensure you get in.
Unlike a typical convention, this festival is decentralized. A few venues are within walking distance of each other; most require a car ride. You have to be very strategic if you’re trying to take in more than one show a night.
Festival passes are available at the National Songwriters Association Inc. (NSAI) office at 1710 Roy Acuff Place. It’s on the corner of 18th Avenue, S. in a building that looks like a mill. They ask that you enter from the porch, not the parking lot to pick up your pass. The phone number is 1-800-321-6008.
Shows are at 6pm and 9pm each evening with a different line-up for each performance.
The best way to stay up to speed is to download the Tin Pan South app.
A Few Tips
- Songwriters work primarily behind the scenes so a word of encouragement or appreciation is almost always welcome.
- Although there are 10 official venues, you may also find songwriter showcases in hotel lounges and honky tonks. Also check out Assembly Food Hall in the Fifth and Broadway complex where there’s live music throughout the day.
- The fastest A-to-B commute is between Crosseyed Critter and Analog since they’re only two blocks apart.
- Because the neighborhood can be iffy, I wouldn’t recommend walking among the three SoBro venues (Listening Room, 3rd and Lindsley, City Winery) after dark unless you’re traveling with a crowd.
A little about the venues (in alphabetical order):
Midtown. The Hutton Hotel’s club is like a large, beautifully decorated living room with couches around the stage.
Green Hills. It’s the best-known songwriters’ venue, has stellar line-ups and is an intimate environment. Translation: expect it to be difficult to a reservation. If a show is sold out, you’ve got a slim chance of getting in if there are no-shows. With construction next door, the parking situation is horrendous so I’d recommend a taxi or rideshare. After a show, consider walking a block or two up the street to get an exit ride.
SoBro. The smaller of the two listening rooms, the lounge is located _____. Surface parking is available adjacent to the building.
West End/Vanderbilt. With paid parking onsite (the Holiday Inn-Vanderbilt), it’s one of the easiest venues logistically speaking. It wasn’t designed for live music so get there early to avoid sitting behind a pillar. FYI, the Commodore is one of the busiest songwriter spots year-round.
Midtown. I have to get over the fact that this is known as a karaoke bar with animatronic animals as a back-up band. This week it’s living, breathing poets with guitars and keyboards.
SoBro. Walk through the lobby which doubles as a bar to the listening room in the rear where there’s another bar. Valet parking is available for $10 but can get backed up so arrive early and be patient.
Music Row. Normally this two-block stretch is hopping at night so expect to navigate through patrons at other clubs and restaurants. There’s a large surface lot behind Tailgate Brewery, accessed off 16th Avenue S.
SoBro. One of the larger venues, it frequently welcomes some of the city’s top songwriters and even hosts a midday songwriters’ round every Saturday. Even though its spacious by comparison to some, the sound is great and there’s not a bad seat in the house. Only a few parking spaces onsite with street and paid parking nearby.
Wedgewood/Houston. Also known as WeHo. A newcomer to the club scene, it’s a big open room with a balcony. An added attraction is that you can watch records being pressed.
Tin Pan South Dates:
March 28-April 1, 2023