Singer Songwriter Competition

Gumtree Festival prides itself in hosting the region’s most prestigious songwriter competition each year. Writers and musicians from Northeast Mississippi and beyond draw on more than a century of musical history to produce new, original work.

Grammy award winning artist Lari White takes the stage at 4pm  on Saturday, May 13th. She is judging the competition starting a 1pm.


2017 Semifinalists

Luke Fisher

Oxford, MS

Mark Magill

Blue Springs, MS

Hushboy Jones

Pontotoc, MS

Hal Pitts

Tremont, MS

Brian Harrison

New Albany, MS

John Kirk

Coffeeville, MS

Drew Blackwell

Macon, MS

Dean Koon

Independence, MS

Sam Suttle

Louisville, MS

Mattie Stembridge

Saltillo, MS

Mersaidee Soules

Tupelo, MS

Leah Rose Duncan

Greenwood Springs, MS

The tradition of the previous year’s winner opening The festival BEGINS AT NOON Saturday May 13th with Natalie Robertson of Hamilton , Ala.

About the Judge

Lari White is an award-winning recording artist, hit songwriter and history-making record producer.  Her soulful music stirs up American roots, country and R&B, and throws in splashes of jazz and gospel for an emotional sound that has earned her three Grammys, RIAA Gold, and critical acclaim wherever she goes, from Nashville to Broadway, silver screen to live arenas. Lari made music history as the first female to produce a male superstar with Toby Keith’s platinum White Trash with Money.  She’s produced records and written songs for Shawn Mullins, Tammy Wynette, Toby Keith, Lonestar, Danny Gokey and others. As an actress, she starred opposite Tom Hanks in the blockbuster film Cast Away, and originated her role on Broadway in Ring Of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. Now celebrating 25 years as a recording artist, Lari recently released two EPs, Old Friends and New Loves, featuring guest stars Suzy Bogguss, Victor Wooten, Lee Roy Parnell and Delbert McClinton, now available on iTunes and Amazon. Follow her at


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About the Festival

The Gumtree Festival is Mississippi’s premier arts festival. Each spring, artists from all over the Southeast descend on Downtown Tupelo for a weekend of music, performance, food, crafts, and visual arts. Whether you’re an aspiring artist seeking inspiration, a family looking for weekend fun or a collector searching for the next great piece, Gumtree Festival has something to offer you.