Lyricist Farnell Cole knows how to raise money for charitable causes. Over the last 30 years he’s worked with musicians to promote charity concerts, including one that raised more than $10,000 the victims of Hurricane Michael, which devastated the Florida panhandle in 2018.
Now he’s putting his talents toward relief for another kind of economic devastation—the unique kind brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions continued to ease up, Cole set his sights on helping musicians who have been unable to perform showcase their work.
“We wanted to make sure the concept would work first, so the initial show was not publicized,” Cole said. “We had a flood of songwriters contact us, so we decided we could make it a regular event, either monthly or quarterly. We wanted to give these artists a venue to showcase their talents.”
The first public showcase arrives tonight at the High Springs Lions Club. Performers will take the stage two at a time and take turns performing original songs. Each artist will do up to three songs. The sets will continue until all 18 artists have had a chance to perform.
Award-winning songwriter Ellen Bukstel is one of the participants. She has been honored with close to 50 songwriting and music video awards and acknowledgments since 2002. Thirteen out of the 15 songs on her solo CD, “Daddy’s Little Girl,” have received top honors in various songwriting competitions.
Before moving to High Springs, Bukstel produced concerts for South Florida artists in her small concert hall called the Shack in The Back. She has since rebuilt her concert venue on her property in High Springs, and that experience led Cole to recruit her help producing the second show.
“We saw how well the first one went and decided it was time to open it up to the general public by offering a free showcase featuring 18 regional musicians” Bukstel said. “We really hope to not only continue these songwriter showcases on a regular but make it a tradition at the Lions Club as a venue that features original music by a variety of songwriters.”
If you go:
- Address: 26900 US-27, High Springs (Lions Club)
- Admission: free
- Start time: 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)
- End time: When all artists have had a chance to play
- More information: Lions Club Facebook page