What is it?

The Cosmic Songwriter Festival is a live music festival taking place in Bloomington, Indiana from Wednesday, May 15 through Saturday, May 18, 2024. This is year two of the multi-venue music festival emerging from Bloomington’s popular monthly Cosmic Songwriters Club featuring musical artists sharing the stage to perform original songs in an intimate, listening-room environment.

"That unique format of two artists performing together will be followed for the festival. We encourage artists to share stories about the inspiration and writing process of their songs. We call it cosmic because we want to bring people together to share their art with each other and the audience. We encourage a sense of serendipity, magic, and community.” – Pablo ‘Oso’ Fuentes, Cosmic Songwriters Club Co-founder.

When and where is it?

All venues are located in downtown Bloomington, Indiana.

Wednesday, May 15 - 7:00 PM ET – Orbit Room at 107 N. College Avenue.

Thursday, May 16 - 7:00 PM ET – The Bluebird at 216 N. Walnut Street.

Friday, May 17 - 7:00 PM ET – Blockhouse Bar at 205 S. College Avenue.

Saturday, May 18 - 7:00 PM ET - Buskirk Chumley Theater at 114 E. Kirkwood Avenue.

Who is performing?

24 musical artists are paired up and performing at four venues/showcases over four days.

Orbit Room (limited tickets):

Spectator Bird & Caleb Stine (headliners)

Rodeola & Kay Krull

Chris Dollar & Chris Sutton

The Bluebird:

Gabe Lee & Emily Nenni (headliners)

Austin Lucas & Dandelioness

Jeremy Pinnell & Hank Ruff

Blockhouse Bar:

Melissa Carper & Tre Burt (headliners)

Chicago Farmer & The Hammer & The Hatchet

TV Mike & Derrick & Olivia

Buskirk-Chumley Theater:

Oliver Wood & Carrie Newcomer (headliners)

Blue Cactus & Kassi Valazza

Oso Blues & The Monon Troubadours

Where do I get tickets?

Tickets can be purchased in advance through www.cosmicsongwriter.com or at the venue on the day of show.

Tickets prices for the showcases:

May 15 – Orbit Room (limited tickets at door)

May 16 – The Bluebird ($18.50)

May 17 – Blockhouse Bar ($14.50)

May 18 - Buskirk-Chumley ($22.50)

Festival Pass ($38.50 – SOLD OUT

Insider tips:

The inaugural Cosmic festival in 2023 was fantastic and I think 2024 will be even better. The event starts on a Wednesday and runs through Saturday. The Indiana University school year ends on May 3 so things will be moving at a little slower pace in downtown Bloomington during Cosmic. It’s a great time to visit and I suggest you make a long weekend of music out of it with some friends. There are a wide variety of lodging options in the Bloomington area with over 100 dining options in the downtown area alone. Cosmic tickets are incredibly affordable. They average out to paying less than $4 per artist!

Orbit Room once again kicks off the festival on Wednesday, May 15. The amazing harmonies of Spectator Bird (sister duo Rachel and Lindsey FitzGerald from Virginia) co-headline that evening with Baltimore native, Caleb Stine. Stine has been compared to Willie Nelson and Townes Van Zandt. I highly recommend you check out two of my favorites local Bloomington musicians, Rodeola and Kay Krull, who are also on the bill with Chris Dollar (Henhouse Prowlers) and Chris Sutton. There are limited tickets available for the Orbit Room showcase at the venue door, but plenty of tickets are available for all other showcases.

Nashville musician and Indiana University graduate, Gabe Lee, headlines The Bluebird on Thursday, May 16 with Emily Nenni. Billboard Magazine compared Gabe Lee to John Prine and Jason Isbell, while saying Lee "excels at excavating everyday moments into his songs." Emily Nenni is a New West Records recording artist and her latest album, Drive & Cry, comes out May 3. Troubadour Austin Lucas may easily steal the show while being paired with Taos, NM-based artist Dandelioness. You can expect to see punk rock elements in their performances, and I can’t wait. Classic country crooner Jeremy Pinnell and one of Bloomington’s fastest rising musical artists, Hank Ruff, kick off Thursday night. You better catch Hank while you can. Plenty of tickets are available for The Bluebird showcase.

Friday night at Blockhouse Bar promises to be another great night of live music with Melissa Carper and Tré Burt leading the way. “Not unlike Loretta Lynn, Melissa Carper is giving us scenes and stories and vignettes that kind of play out between home and the honky tonk.” – NPR. American Songwriter Magazine called Burt’s latest LP (Traffic Friction - Oh Boy Records) a mix of rock, soul, jazz, and country elements that finds the California-based talent "cleverly reflecting on life and its many complications." Chicago Farmer, The Hammer & The Hatchet, TV Mike, and Derrick & Olivia are also on the bill. TV Mike’s album, Manzanita, is one of my all-time favorite records.

The grand finale evening of Cosmic will undoubtedly be a special night. Taking place at the historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater on Saturday, May 18, the final pairing of Grammy-nominated Oliver Wood (Wood Brothers) and one of Bloomington’s finest artists, Emmy-winner Carrie Newcomer, will be nothing short of spectacular. Carrie has released 20 albums! North Carolina duo Blue Cactus is paired with Kassi Valazza that night. Blue Cactus has drawn comparisons to Bobbie Gentry, Fleetwood Mac, and David Bowie. I may be most excited to see the set from Kassi Valazza of Portland, OR. Her cosmic psychedelic folk record, Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing, was one of my favorite 2023 records.

I need to put a plug in for the fifth annual Bloomington Music Expo taking place in the pavilion at Switchyard Park on Saturday, May 18, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Check it out during the day and get your fix of pre-loved vinyl, CDs, music posters, and more then head over to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater that evening.

Bloomington, Indiana continues to evolve into one of the best music destinations in the country and the Cosmic Songwriter Festival is a big reason why. Check out www.musicbloomington.com for more information and I can’t wait to hang with you at the 2024 Cosmic Songwriter Festival.

This blog was written on April 9, 2024. Plenty of tickets were available at that time for the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday showcases. Please check with the venue for most recent ticket availability information.

Photo – Jerod Dickenson and JP Ruggieri performing at The Bluebird at the 2023 Cosmic Songwriter Festival.