Washougal Songcraft Festival set for this weekend

Festival will feature 16 musicians, four concerts, Friday through Sunday

timestamp icon
category icon Latest News, Life, News
Evan Hathaway (left) and Lukas Johnson will p at the 2023 Songcraft Festival. (Courtesy of Christopher Corbell)

Washougal residents Christoper and Stephanie Corbell like to think of the term “songcraft” in terms of the Pacific Northwest’s renowned craft beer culture.

“Imagine if all our local breweries were trying to make Budweiser, how boring the scene would be,” the couple noted. “We feel the same way about local songwriting. We think cultural wealth comes from local invention (and) variety.”

The Corbells are set to put a significant amount of inventive and diverse songwriting on display later this month with the first annual Washougal Songcraft Festival, which will be held from Friday, Aug. 11, to Sunday, Aug. 13, in Washougal.

The festival will feature 16 local and regional musicians performing two “evening out” concerts, to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11, and from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday Aug. 12, at 54-40 Brewing Company in Washougal; a daytime concert at Reflection Plaza from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, during the annual Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance (WACA) Washougal Arts Festival; and a songwriting workshop, to be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, at the Sunset Ridge Clubhouse in Washougal.

“There’s just a lot of excitement,” Stephanie said. “This is the first annual Washougal Songcraft festival, so it seems like a really big deal, and we’re just feeling all the love right now.”

The Corbells launched the festival as a nonprofit organization in 2022 in an effort to celebrate the craft of songwriting, and to develop the performing arts and creative community in the Washougal area.

The songwriters are from the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area and will perform a variety of musical styles, from introspective and poetic indie to rural Americana and traditional blues. Some will perform solo and self-accompanied, while others will perform with small bands.

The Corbells have held several “song circle” events at 54-50 Brewing in Washougal over the past nine months that featured some of the same musicians.

“We’re very excited about the lineup,” Stephanie said. “A lot of these people played in our song circles, and they received very good responses from the crowd and from the community. When we put this lineup together, handpicking all these performers, it all just fell into place. We knew that this was going to be really good for the vibe of 54-40 and all of our fans. It’s going to be a good show.”

“The common thread of all of our artists is that their main focus is songwriting,” he said. “I mean, they might be in other bands and doing other things in other projects, but the focus of what they brought to us is their attention to songwriting, to lyrics, and to melody,” Christopher said.

Four of the artists are scheduled to speak during the songwriters’ workshop session on the festival’s final day.

“(They’ll) give ‘lightning talks’ about whatever topic they want to talk about, just to share their wisdom or their experience of songwriting,” Christopher said. “And then from there, it will become a hands-on workshop where anyone who wants to can share a song. It will be a safe space to learn and receive encouragement, or receive (more advanced) critiques.”

The Corbells wanted to hold their festival on the same weekend as the Washougal Arts Festival to take advantage of the WACA signature event’s “built-in audience,” according to Christopher.

“We approached WACA and talked to them about the idea of scheduling (our festival) at the same time (as theirs),” he said. “We had that collaborative communication early on, and they were excited about having music. We’re all still in this ‘rebuilding of cultural events post-pandemic (phase),’ so building that synergy seemed like a really good idea. They’ve been super supportive.”

The effort has been aided by Christopher’s background in non-profit arts management in Portland, where he founded the independent vocal-music troupe Cult of Orpheus and completed the Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Cultural Leadership Program under the mentorship of George Thorn, and Stephanie’s “connection to the Washougal community as a long-term resident,” which helped them foster relationships with 54-40 Brewing Company co-owners Bolt and Amy Minister and WACA leaders.

“I really hope that as we keep doing this year after year, we start to kind of build a reputation of Washougal as a songwriter mecca, a place where if you’re a songwriter, just put it on your calendar because it’s going to be a cool thing, and it’s not competitive. It’s not competitive in the sense of contests and awards. It’s all about the excellence of songwriting. I think our long-term goal is that the intangible side of it – we want to have that artistic reputation for our talent.”

For more information, visit


What: Washougal Songcraft Festival

When: Friday-Sunday, Aug. 11-13

Where: At various locations throughout Washougal


6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 (54-40 Brewing, 3801 S. Truman St.):

Ali Boyce

Raven Fables

The Moonshine

Gina DeNoble

Your Strange Companions

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12 (Reflection Plaza, 1701 “C” St.)

Jim Warford

C. A. Corbell

Kendall Lujan

Evan Hathaway and Lukas Johnson

James Cook

5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12 (54-40 Brewing, 3801 S. Truman St.)

Ben Johnson

Blair Borax

Sunny Pache

Marcus Angeloni

Brenna Larsen

Tevis Hodge, Jr.

Songwriters Workshop: 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 (Sunset Ridge Clubhouse, 776 Sunset Ridge Dr.)

Marcus Angeloni

Brenna Larsen

David E. Lane

Christopher Corbell