Tybee Island welcomes singers, songwriters for 2nd festival

Elvie Shane performes “My Boy”, the 2022 ACM nominated Song of The Year and New Artist of The Year. Photo provided by TISF.

The second Tybee Island Songwriters Festival will be held April 7-9 after a two-year hiatus. The seaside festival will showcase a variety of songwriters and their original works.

Savannah native, songwriter and former Army Ranger Sean Squires, put together the first TISF in 2019, but the pandemic and his battle with throat cancer forced him to put the festival on hold.

Squires, who has recovered, is also hoping to grow his festival along with his nonprofit Helping Others Through (HOT) Music. 

Right now, the nonprofit is in its infancy, but Squires said that as TSIF grows, so will the size and vision of HOT Music.

“One of the things I’ve done with the festival this year is I’m running the festival through the nonprofit,” said Squires. “I just want to give back to the local community, starting out with the underfunded programs in schools. We wanted to have kind of a narrow vision at first, and then expand that vision as we grow.”

Currently the nonprofit is in the process of teaming up with Chatham County Schools in order to help fund their music programs. According to Squires, music programs in schools do not always have the most funding.

Squires hopes that once his nonprofit grows it will be able to provide instrument rentals, lessons and songwriters workshops that local schools need.


TISF’s festival will consist of a number of songwriter rounds that allow for a closer and more personal connection between songwriters and the audience.

Songwriter rounds are a Nashville tradition, with the original format having three to four musicians on stage with one playing a song followed by the other. 

Each songwriter on stage can contribute harmonies or guitar riffs to the song the current songwriter is performing.

During a songwriter round, writers break down how their songs came to be, while also exchanging vivid stories with the audience and interacting with other writers on stage. 

This year’s festival will have over 20 rounds.

“Songwriter rounds started back in the mid 80s at the bluebird cafe, we actually have two of the guys that started that back in ’86: Tony Arata, who wrote “The Dance” for Garth Brooks, and Thom Schuyler who wrote “16th Avenue” for Lacy J. Dalton. Both of who are Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame writers,” said Squires.

Arata has been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, having seven of his songs recorded by Garth Brooks. (“The Dance” being the most notable, winning song of the year at The Academy of Country Music and receiving both a Country Music Association and a Grammy nomination.)

Other songwriters coming to the festival include Doug Johnson who wrote “3 Wooden Crosses” for Randy Travis and Jeffrey Steele, the songwriter behind Rascal Flatts “What Hurts The Most.”

You can find out more information on the TISF website at tybeeislandsongwritersfestival.com


About The Author

Alex Arango

Alex Arango is a multimedia journalist and Savannah local. He has a passion for quality community journalism, and is looking forward to serving the city that he has always called home.
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