By DeAsia Robinson
Tallahassee Community College held its 5th Word of South Festival, an annual 3-day event that explores the unique blending of literature and music. Fans of all ages gathered to enjoy performances while laying out their picnic blankets and soaking in the sun.
The event at Cascades Park featured authors who write about music, musicians who are also authors, authors and musicians appearing together, and everything in between. This year’s lineup included 84 artists, some of whom are world renowned authors and prominent musicians.
Sarah Marchessault, who is the director of the Word of South Festival, shed some light on the history of the event. “Our mission is to create an event that is free for families, college students and anyone who wants to be involved,” she explained.
Marchessault, who originally started out as a volunteer, elaborated how the event got its start in Tallahassee. “The inspiration behind the event actually came from a writer who thought since other cities have literary festivals, we should have one too. We added the music in later,” she said.
Marchessault then proceeded to explain the station she was currently attending, the Maker Table. Under the Maker Table’s tent, kids were able to express themselves freely through art, and there was even a mini stage for them as well. The Maker Table allows the children to play with art, words and music.
Not every kid has access to unlimited art supplies,” said Marchessault. “We’ve had kids come and play for an hour or so and they are able to leave with something they created.”
A few tents over, a large crowd could be seen dancing and singing along to the melodic sounds of Maybe April, an American music trio from Nashville. The popular girl group rocked the crowd with their diverse music catalogue that featured songs about love, dancing, and more.
Among the festival’s visitors was Tamara Brown, a senior social work student at Florida State University. She said she was asked to attend the festival as an extra credit assignment, but left with something even greater.
“Being here and witnessing so much creativity has inspired me to start writing again,” she said. A passion for writing escaped her when she was battling a tough time in life. “I had pretty much let everything consume me to the point I felt trapped. Being here today allowed me to release those emotions.”