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Nashville Readies For Music Festival

More than 10,000 people, many of them songwriters , will crowd into Nashville clubs this week for an annual music festival honoring the men and women who craft the hits.

"We've got everyone from Kitty Wells to Slaughter, literally," said Bart Herbison, executive director of Nashville Songwriters Association International.

The NSAI celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Tin Pan South festival, which opened Monday, at 18 clubs and other venues all over town.

The centerpiece concert is Tuesday at the Ryman Auditorium, headlined by Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley of the group America.

At a sold-out songwriters symposium on Friday and Saturday, aspiring writers can get song critiques, ask questions or hear panel discussions on topics such as effective co-writing.

Attendees pay $35 for a pass to most of the club shows. The Ryman concert and other events have separate admissions.

The money helps pay for NSAI's lobbying efforts in Washington on behalf of songwriters.

But Herbison said fund-raising isn't the main goal.

"We don't raise vast amounts of money with this, because there are a lot of costs involved," he said. "We do it to celebrate the songs and songwriters, to showcase the art form and the artists."