CORPUS CHRISTI – Downtown Corpus Christi is about to come alive for three days chock full of live music from all over country for the 2020 Corpus Christi Songwriters Festival (CCSF).

The fest, now in its third year, will feature more than 40 nationally, regionally and locally acclaimed songwriters performing their original music in six venues and telling the stories behind them over three days, at seven different venues in downtown Corpus Christi – giving traveling festival-goers and visiting songwriters alike the unique opportunity to see what the sparkling city by the bay has to offer. 

The festival is the work of the Corpus Christi Songwriters group co-founded by Corpus Christi musician Jimmy Wilden who performs solo and with his old friend as Yosh & Yimmy.

“I think we’re in a good spot for our third year,” Wilden said. “We’re heading into our goal that we wanted to reach by our fifth year which is adding a fourth day to the festival.

“And while we’re bringing in more regional and national acts we’re still putting a lot of focus on local songwriters.”

Wilden said the festival first began when he woke up on his 31st birthday and wanted to create something for local songwriters, a safe space for creatives to gather and showcase their songwriting work and receive feedback from other musicians.

That became Corpus Christi Songwriters.

He also had an idea of one day creating a music festival featuring those musicians but set the idea aside. It wasn’t until having lunch with a friend in 2017 that the idea resurfaced and the CCSF came to fruition and has grown ever since.

“Trying to fit 47 people into three days is no small feat,” Wilden laughed. “And trying to find sponsorship has been a learning curve for us but I think we have some really great support this year.”

The headliner this year also caused a few people to do a double-take when he was announced a few months ago. 

Ben Kweller came onto the indie rock scene in 2002 with his first solo studio LP “Sha Sha” which featured the popular single “Wasted & Ready” and reached #29 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Kweller has been quiet on the music scene since his 2012 release “Go Fly a Kite” due to some tragic and near tragic personal experiences he encountered soon after.

He and his family were 15 minutes from death after an extreme close call with carbon-monoxide poisoning in 2013 while on vacation. That brush with death led to a prolonged break from music and performing, until the loss of his friend, actor Anton Yelchin (“Star Trek” 2009). The two had a close bond, and even shared the silver screen in “Rudderless”, a music-based drama directed by award-winning actor William H. Macy. 

“After the 2019 festival my brain was in overdrive already trying to think who we could bring in to headline,” Wilden continued. “Ben Kweller was always one of my favorite songwriters ever since I saw him for the first time on “Last Call with Carson Daly” back in 2002. 

“Ever since then I’ve always followed his career, I bought ever single one of his records and so one day it just clicked. ‘Let’s see if he wants to come down.’

“He actually lives around Dripping Springs, Texas so I figured it would be kind of feasible for him to do this. So we reached out and over a couple of months his camp and our camp went back and forth and eventually we got him on board.”

The festival is also about showcasing downtown Corpus Christi. With the venues only a few blocks from one another, Wilden wanted visitors to be able to walk around,  explore the city in between enjoying live music unlike most downtown festivals where streets are closed as well as local businesses.

“This event is definitely family friendly but you won’t find any turkey legs,” he added with a laugh.

The festival will also feature four extensive workshops on songwriting, publishing, and marketing at the Bay Jewel on Saturday, Feb. 15, hosted by Adam & Chris Carroll, George Ensle, Jana Pochop and Sean Gasaway, as well as a special Corpus Christi Music Awards ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 16. 

Tickets and badges are now on sale for the 2020 Corpus Christi Songwriters Festival and will be held Feb. 14 through 16 at several downtown venues. For schedules, tickets and badges visit cc-songwriters.com.

“It’s just something you don’t want to miss and something you want to be a part of,” Wilden added. “And it’s right here in our little hometown by the sea.

“For me, it’s just about supporting the music scene and watching it grow. That means the world to me and I’m proud to be a part of this.”