Trace AdkinsTin Pan Alley and its famous Brill Building was New York City's claim to fame for songwriters in the 1950s and 1960s. Tin Pan South is Nashville's claim to fame every spring, and this year is no exception. Trace Adkins, Trent Tomlinson, Marc Broussard and Kathy Mattea are among the 200-plus songwriters who will grace performance stages throughout Nashville during the 18th annual Tin Pan South festival March 30 - April 3.

Heidi Newfield, Michael Martin Murphey, Buddy Jewell, James Otto and Lee Roy Parnell will join them, as the event continues to live up to its name as the largest songwriters festival of its kind in the world. While Tin Pan South draws on singer-songwriters, it also pulls from the wealth of songwriters in Nashville and those who come to Nashville to write. Rock and pop writers including Mark Hudson, Kyle Cook of Matchbook Twenty, Bill Champlin of Chicago and Jonathan Cain of Journey either live in Nashville, or visit the city frequently to write.

"I believe in giving back," says Jonathan, who was first signed as a songwriter to Tree Publishing in Nashville. He performed at the announcement party for Tin Pan South, held in Nashville on Tuesday (March 9). "I do a lot of things like this in the Bay Area (of California) too, and think it's important to help out the new songwriters in our industry."

Songwriter Wood Newton, who penned 'Bobbie Sue' for the Oak Ridge Boys, will perform along with Alan Rhody, Todd Cerney and Lisa Carver at the Station Inn on April 1. "They take it up a notch during Tin Pan South," he told The Boot, emphasizing the importance of a concentrated gathering of this type in Nashville, a city that on any given night sports a dozen or more venues where songwriters perform. "They bring in the best of the best from all genres so when you go to the venues, you hear songs you've heard played all your life."

It will be 'American Idol' finalist Bo Bice's first year to perform at the festival. "I've lived here five years and I'm finally able to participate," he admits to The Boot. "It's great for all of the writers because we get to hang out ... but it's also important to encourage new writers. Without the older writers the new kids don't have the chance to hear the stories and learn the craft."

Rachel Thibodeau is one of the younger writers booked to perform this year. She had her first number one with Billy Currington's 'Good Directions' with co-writer Luke Bryan, and she says it's been an incredible journey. "When I first moved here I didn't know anyone or anything, and the Nashville Songwriters Association International really helped me connect," she tells The Boot. "They taught me about co-writing and networking and doing writer's nights. Because of all the help they gave me, it's important to me to give back anytime NSAI calls me. I want to be able to help others who are new to the business like they helped me."

Other writers who will be performing include Pat Alger, Kenny Beard, Casey Beathard, Kent Blazy, Gary Burr, Shawn Camp, Rob Crosby, Andrew Dorff, Steve Dorff, Tom Douglas, Robin English, Dallas Frazier, Jimbeau Hinson, James House, Angela Kaset, Dickey Lee, Richie McDonald, Frank Myers, Charlie Peacock, Hugh Prestwood, Jon Randall, Eddy Raven, Leslie Satcher, Neil Thrasher and Jubal Lee Young.

The festival is presented by Regions Bank and produced by the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Money earned during the festival goes to the not-for-profit trade organization that endeavors to help songwriters protect their intellectual property rights.

Among the venues for this year's Tin Pan South are the Bluebird Café, the Station Inn, Douglas Corner and the Hard Rock Café. Tickets are on sale now through