Festival Information

Where live music enjoyment introduces crowds to the faces, voices and stories behind the songs!

The Sandy Lee Watkins Songwriters’ Festival is four nights of intimate, acoustic performances by some of Nashville’s award winning singer/songwriters. While sitting in the round, attendees will have an up close and personal experience while hearing stories about how and why their favorite songs were written.

In 2010, former Henderson native and Nashville songwriter Kerry Kurt Phillips, along with local residents Mac Neel and Leanne Pritchett, brought songwriters to Henderson for a one night performance. Today, award winning songwriters and up and coming writers perform original songs over four nights and three downtown local venues for a total of 17 shows.

The event is named in honor of the late Henderson County Judge/Executive, Sandy Lee Watkins. Sandy was a dedicated community leader always looking to move the county—42420 as he lovingly referred to Henderson—and its citizens forward. Sandy enjoyed the first year of the songfest and looked forward to growing the event.

Henderson Songfest, Inc. is a tax exempt, non-profit charitable organization. In our ten years, corporate, individual and in-kind donations, as well as volunteers, have kept this a vibrant Henderson festival with over 3000 people in attendance in 2019.

The 2019 Sandy Lee Watkins Songwriters Festival benefited Good News Jail and Prison Ministries, The Gathering Place, Preston Arts Center, Father Bradley Women & Children’s Shelter, Imagination Library, Senior Companion Program, Gamma Tau, Henderson Area Arts Alliance

We look forward to being able to bring the Sandy Lee Watkins Songwriters Festival to Henderson! The 2020 dates are July 29th – August 1st.

We anticipate this becoming another great festival for Henderson much like the acclaimed WC Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival and the Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival. We are dedicated to keeping this an annual event and hope you will support this endeavor.