Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience.” “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”
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Reflections on Liahonaroo from Shantell Ogden
by Dave Carew
On April 20 and 21, the first-ever Liahonaroo festival graced the Wilson County Fairgrounds, bringing approximately 30 gifted singer-songwriters, bands, and other artists together in a two-day celebration of music and the visual arts. Primarily created and coordinated by local singer-songwriter Shantell Ogden, the event was billed as the family-friendly alternative to Bonaroo, and drew media coverage from WSMV-TV Channel 4, The Tennessean, and other blogs and newspapers.
In this exclusive interview with Underground Nashville, Shantell Ogden reflects on Liahonaroo and its impact on the local community.
UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: What do you think were the greatest human and spiritual accomplishments of Liahonaroo?
SHANTELL OGDEN: A key accomplishment of the event is that we connected a community of talented and like-minded artists. It was particularly rewarding to see artists meet and then become friends through the festival. We had two different acts come down from New York City, and they were introduced at Liahonaroo. Those acts will now be able to stay in contact in the future, and perhaps even share shows in the New York area. The fans were able to enjoy the music in a family-friendly setting and connect directly with the artists, as well.
UN: What do you feel Liahonaroo brought to people, in terms of personal enrichment, that they may not have had otherwise?
SO: To me, music is a reflection of the artist who writes and performs it. I think it’s always enriching to ‘gift’ your music to an appreciative and enthusiastic audience—like the audience we had at Liahonaroo. For our artists, we hosted a series of workshops aimed at helping them develop their careers, and our artists were able to take away some important knowledge about marketing, media relations, and vocal techniques.
UN: In 50 years, what will you most remember about Liahonaroo?
SO: I’ll remember that if you have a vision, find people who believe in that vision, and dig in and work hard, incredible things can happen. Those of us organizing Liahonaroo learned a lot about producing and promoting a festival of this kind. Our artists promoted the event and invited their friends and family. We all worked together to make it successful, and to me, that is something I’ll always remember.
To see photos and video highlights from this year’s Liahonaroo, please visit FaceBook.com/Liahonaroo.
David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.