Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival

October 30, 2019 - Perdido Key, FL - (OBA®) - Legendary characters, infamous stories, notes of music across the gamut of genres and a plethora of performances across multiple venues can only mean one thing -- it’s time for the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival. 

The Flora-Bama Lounge invites you to join the party Nov. 7 through 17 as the festival showcases performances from Grammy-award winning songwriters and plenty of up-and-coming talent, too. Andy Haynes, director of the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival (FBISF), described the ambiance of this event. “The FBISF is nothing short of a magical experience,” he explained. “I am aware of long lasting friendships -- songwriter to songwriter and songwriter to attendee -- that have been forged as a result of being here. All the venues are intimate so you can be up close and personal with the individual who actually created the song. Most times the songs come from real life experiences which the songwriter shares with the attendees.”

Among the many locations from Pensacola, west to Gulf Shores and north to Fairhope, the Flora-Bama will feature performances in the lounge’s dome, tent and Main Room (a quiet, listening room environment), as well as the Flora-Bama Yacht Club and Ole River Grill.

The 35th annual festival will showcase more than 200 songwriters. This year’s line-up includes: Thom Bresh, Jim “Moose” Brown, Buddy Cannon, Bruce Channel, Larry Cordle, Mac Davis, Steve Dean, Doug Gill, Jimbeau Hinson, Carl Jackson, Bobby Keel, Lynn Langham, Jim McBride, Dallas Moore, Wil Nance, Wood Newton, Will Rambeaux, Alan Rhody, Jerry Salley, Don Schlitz, Gove Scrivenor, Mark Sherrill, Gerald Smith, Even Stevens, Sugarcane Jane, Sonny Throckmorton, Chris Wallin and many more.

Haynes said that these men and women are what make the festival so special. “The songwriters love being a part of this festival -- it's the oldest of its kind in the country,” he said. “The festival has been blessed to have had most of the prolific songwriters of the past 50 years grace its stages. We've had many Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame members and Grammy Award winners here over the years, as well as up and comers. The songwriters tell me they love the collaborative spirit the festival fosters. Over the years there have been a number of great songs written during the festival and all the songwriters love being in our beautiful area.”

Haynes said that in addition to the songwriters, the festival’s success depends upon many people working together. “I am but a small part of a large, dedicated group of mostly volunteers who really make everything come together,” he explained. “I was a volunteer for 16 years before assuming this role in 2016. The volunteers are the heart and soul of the festival. The smiles I see on the faces of the attendees as well as the songwriters makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

The History

The festival is dedicated to the late Frank Brown, who was night watchman at the Flora-Bama for 28 years; he was known and loved by all and was 91 years old when he retired, according to Brown was featured on Paul Harvey's syndicated radio show, "The Rest of the Story." During his security guard hours, he wore a pair of matching revolvers, slung low, but he didn't have to use them. All the regulars knew and respected him. Brown was the last person the performers saw at closing time. He was 93 years old when he passed away in 1988, and he left his legacy in the festival -- to ensure that it continues year after year. The atmosphere just seems to inspire collaboration and inspiration.

The Future

Frank Brown International Foundation for Music sends songwriters into schools to make presentations where students are introduced to the wonders of songwriting. It awards scholarship funds to college bound Baldwin and Escambia County high school students who display a serious interest in music. The foundation also supplies instruments to schools in an effort to support music programs. Haynes divulged that, “part of the mission statement of the Frank Brown Foundation for Music is ‘to reach into schools to enrich lives and encourage creativity through music.’ The festival accomplishes this with our In Schools Outreach program where we send songwriters into schools to conduct workshops on the art and craft of songwriting, as well as through the scholarships we offer.” He explained the evolution of the scholarship process. “The methods of awarding scholarship funds have varied over the years,” he recalled. “Last year we solicited essays from area college-bound high school seniors with an interest in music, asking them to share with us the ways music has affected their lives. The essays we received were compelling.” And the results have touched many lives, he said. “We were able to provide monies to support the academic pursuits of  students in Baldwin County, Alabama as well as Escambia County, Florida.,” he said. “With greater awareness of this program in our community and with the community's continuing and growing support, we hope to be able to offer more scholarships in the years to come.”

While participants in the festival enjoy the rich history and the bright future of the event, most find themselves in awe of the organic nature of the event, according to Haynes. “There have been countless times where I have heard beautiful songs for the first time at the festival, and subsequently some months later as a number-one hit on the radio,” he said. “Festival founder and president, Joe Gilchrist often says ‘Music makes the world a better place.’ That's what the FBISF does, one song at a time.”

To view the festival schedule or for more information, visit

Break-out Box:

Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival – Thurs. Nov. 7- Sun. Nov. 17

Multiple venues from Pensacola to Gulf Shores, and as far north as Fairhope

“Stories in Rhyme” – Fri. Nov. 8 & 15 at 1pm

The documentary film about the history of the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival will be screened on these dates in the Main Room at the Flora-Bama.

Autism Awareness Night – Wed. Nov 13 – 6pm

A silent auction and songwriters performing a benefit show with proceeds going to at the Sunset Cork Room in Gulf Shores. Enjoy dinner and the show. Reservations are required.

Shows at the Southwest Branch Library (12248 Gulf Beach Highway, Pensacola) –

Go to Special Events tab for more info, dates and times.

Native American Tribute – Sun Nov 10 at 4pm

Recognizing Native Americans during Native American Heritage Month, featuring Festival songwriters with Native American roots. Tent stage at the Flora-Bama.

Veterans Day Tribute – Mon. Nov 11 at 6pm

A salute to our veterans in conjunction with non-profit Operation Song. Mai Room at the Flora-Bama.