New Washougal Songcraft Festival and Washougal Song Circles Fills Our Community with Music

A good song makes you tap your foot. A great song stays with you. The new nonprofit Washougal Songcraft Festival and accompanying Washougal Song Circle events promote local, original songwriters with venues to perform throughout the year.

“The Washougal Song Circle is an intimate performance series that brings together a few regional songwriters to share songs,” explains Christopher Corbell, co-artistic director for the Washougal Songcraft Festival.

The Washougal Song Circles happen every first Thursday from October to June each year at 54-50 Brewing. The musical showcases are free, open to the public and fit for all ages. Each month you will be entertained by local songwriters with their very own original works, making these live music nights in Washougal a unique experience.

Stephanie (left) and Christopher Corbell, founders of Washougal Songcraft Festival, both with guitars in hand
Stephanie (left) and Christopher Corbell, founders of Washougal Songcraft Festival Photo by Beverly Corbell

So just what kind of music can you expect? All kinds! “The song circles are focused on original songwriters, and we prefer to book self-accompanied songwriters or duos,” explains Corbell. “We do not have any genre preference, but we tend to hear a mix of acoustic folk, country, blues, and modern indie songwriting.”

Washougal Songcraft Festival

The Washougal Songcraft Festival is a nonprofit organization that was created to promote arts education, to foster, share, and celebrate the craft of songwriting, and to develop the performing arts and creative community of Washougal, Washington and the surrounding region, shares Corbell. “We love original local songwriting and want to see creative community and performing arts thrive in Washougal.”

Happening August 11-13, 2023, this inaugural event will run in cooperation with the Washougal Arts Festival. “Some of our festival performances will be happening in Reflection Plaza during the arts fair on Saturday,” adds Corbell. Sixteen local songwriters will perform over the course of the three-day festival.

“There will be two evening outdoor concerts at 54-40 on Friday and Saturday, and daytime performances Saturday at the downtown arts festival. We will also host songwriting workshops led by participating songwriters and an open mic on Sunday.”

The festival is an important addition to the Washougal community, an area Corbell says needs more support for artists. “Washougal is a very under-served community with regard to performing arts,” he explains. “We have no public theater or concert hall apart from the high school, and very few performing arts groups. We realize that singer-songwriters are a natural fit for this small semi-rural town, and we think this effort will help boost performing arts here generally, to support the local culture and economy.”

The Washougal Songcraft Festival is not geared toward any one genre – all are welcome. Instead, the focus is on local and original songwriters. “Performing artists generally struggle for support and songwriters in particular often perform for free or for very modest compensation, so we raise funds to provide them with stipends for these performances, and to connect them with appreciative audiences,” Corbell adds.

From left: Tevis Hodge Jr, Jim Brunberg, Christopher Corbell, Stephanie Corbell, Minda Lacy, performers with the Washougal Song Circle. Photo by Mary Reed

April Washougal Song Circle to Benefit Washougal Songcraft Festival

The Washougal Song Circle happening on April 6, is a special one as it serves as a fundraiser for the Washougal Songcraft Festival. Normally, the artists who perform on these Thursday live music nights at 54-50 Brewing receive a stipend for their performance. On April 6, the artists are donating their time. Donations from patrons will be gladly accepted to

“We are an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff, so all donations go to support our programs including paying performers,” explains Corbell. “We also present events that are free and all-ages, so donations help us keep it that way, to enrich the local community.” In fact, the Washougal Songcraft Festival will also be a free event for all ages.

Get Involved with Washougal Song Circle or Washougal Songcraft Festival

If you are a local songwriter looking for a way to get your music heard, contact Washougal Song Circle! They have information the Washougal Songcraft Festival website, including criteria and how to submit for consideration.

As an all-volunteer organization, the Festival could use your help even if you don’t play one note of music! “We need folks in a variety of roles, from event set-up and working with the public to digital media and fundraising,” says Corbell. You can fill out the volunteer form on the Washougal Songcraft Festival website.

Music fills our souls, provides a healthy way to deal with our emotions and gives us a literal soundtrack for our lives. Help fill our community with music by supporting the Washougal Songcraft Festival and Song Circles.

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