SML Songwriters Festival Expected to Raise Thousands for Charity - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

SML Songwriters Festival is Expected to Raise Thousands for Charity

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What started out as a poolside fundraising event last year has turned into a community festival that promises to bring people together for music and fun for a good cause.

Last year's event raised $3,000 for St. Jude Children's Hospital. This year, the event will be similar to the Songwriters Festival in Key West.

Event organizer Ronnie Hess has been traveling to the Key West festival with friends for the last three years and decided Smith Mountain Lake would be the perfect venue for a similar event.

Genie Rust is part of the local E.S.A. Chapter, Zeta Nu. The sorority has partnered with St. Jude for 40 years.

"Everybody here at Smith Mountain Lake understands St. Jude Hospital and feels really great about helping out in any way they can," Rust says.

So far, there are 12 local businesses sponsoring the June event.

There are four different locations for events:

*Hot Shots

*Sunken City Brewery

*Wallers

*Mangos

Every Thursday night, Hot Shots is holding open mic nights. The open mic winners have a chance to move on to the final six singers who will be judged by Nashville songwriters.

"One of the ways we raise money for St. Jude is people buy tickets," says Hot Shots owner Jeff Schott. "As performers go on and off stage, people write their name on the tickets for whoever they want to win."

The three-day event will run from June 21-23 and is free to the public. Donations to St. Jude will be accepted at each event.

SML Songwriters Festival on Facebook