and Recording Project
photo by Ty Helbach
The sessions begin with a meet-and-greet dinner for all writers. Out-of-towners are housed at the Holiday Music Motel, located near the steel bridge in downtown Sturgeon Bay. All 18 rooms are blocked out for songwriters during the event; accommodations are free of charge for invited guests thanks to sponsorship from the Holiday Music Motel. Collaboration is encouraged and facilitated, if requested. Writers are encouraged (but not required) to derive inspiration from the steel bridge.
The Bridge-with-a-capital-B has long been a potent metaphor in popular song. The Steel Bridge is a great symbol of strength and of joining together, the melding of diverse cultures, divergent views, the old and the new, the words and the music, the tangible and the intangible… The word “bridge” doesn’t need to be used in expressing thoughts and emotions inspired by the presence of a steel span. The connection need not be conscious. It just happens.
Writing takes place in the various motel rooms, coffee shops around town, by the waterside, any place writers want to go for focus, stimulation, or solitude. There are two recording studios operating 24/7 with full-time engineers in order to document the songs written throughout the week. Every night at dusk, there are round robins for all attendees, where all the writers listen to mixes of the songs that were written and recorded the previous day. Unlike some other songwriting events, there are no attendance fees for “aspiring” writers. Food, drink, and accommodations are free. Writers retain full ownership of their contribution to songs written at the event. Mechanical royalties contributed to the Steel Bridge Fund are appreciated, but optional.
This intense collaborative process allows the individual artist to expand their techniques and network with other artists. The week ends in public performances of the fresh new works at venues throughout Sturgeon Bay during the Steel Bridge Songfest. Artists donate the recorded music to the Citizens for Our Bridge effort and compilation CD's are created for sale to the public. The profits from the CD sales are dedicated to build national awareness and promote historic preservation. Proceeds are donated to the Michigan Street Bridge Fund on a long-term, ongoing basis. Confirmed songwriters: View CZ Songwriters Info and FAQ's.