Staff and Tutors 2020



Hello there,

Inspired by a series of songwriting retreats I'd run with Karine Polwart at Scotland's Creative Writing Centre Moniack Mhor, my experiences as a participant at Arvon's Totleigh Barton retreat and the UK Songwriting Festival I decided to set up a weekend of songwriting workshops in Glasgow. 

Before you scroll down and read about this years team there are a couple of things I'd like you to know about Glasgow Songwriting Festival and how I choose your tutors. I suppose you could call this a mission statement or a manifesto.

I don't pick tutors simply because they're famous songwriters. I pick them because they are excellent communicators. I pick them because they have proven time and time again that they are willing to share their skills with others. I pick them because they can adapt their inspirational workshops to include any participant... in short they are excellent educators and you're going to learn loads.

The second thing I noticed as a participant was that the men outnumbered the women three to one. In fact there were no female tutors at UKSWF the year I attended. The last two years I have made gender balance a priority as I think that if we are to address the enormous gender imbalance in the music industry we need to start here at a grass roots level.

Finally I was lucky enough to receive funding to attend my week long songwriting retreats. That's a luxury 

I don't take for granted. Top of my agenda is always your value for money. I need you to leave the festival inspired, invigorated and ready to sign up for next year.

I receive no funding. This goes ahead because I take a financial risk. If you are on low income or feel you would like to attend but cannot afford it please reach out to me (my email is all over this site) and I will see what I can do to help you.

Please scroll below and read what your tutors have been up to. I think you'll be surprised at the scope of their achievements.

Findlay Napier

Festival Director


Festival Director


Nominated as Live Act of the Year and twice nominated Composer/Songwriter of the Year at the Scot's Trad. Music Awards. His album "VIP:Very Interesting Persons" was voted #2 Folk Album of the Year by The Telegraph. He was invited to speak and perform at the International Teaching Artists Conference in New York in 2018. He has run numerous songwriting workshops and retreats. 


Songwriting Tutor


Joining the GSF team live from Nashville, TN is Grammy nominated songwriter Kim Richey. Her songs have been recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Radney Foster and Brooks and Dunn. In the late 80s Richey cooked at the famed Bluebird Cafe and gigged around town at writer’s nights. Signed to Mercury Records in the 90’s she’s released nine solo albums, sung on albums with the likes Jason Isbell and Trisha Yearwood, and co-written songs with Dixie Chicks, Jim Lauderdale and many more. 


Songwriting Tutor


Boo Hewerdine is an Ivor Novello Nominated songwriter. He has written songs that have had top 10 placings across Europe. Including five songs for Eddi Reader's self titled Brit Award Winning #4 UK album and Alex Parks Top #5 Platinum selling album "Introducing".  He has been running songwriting workshops and retreats for twenty years. 

Emily Barker artist image 475x334.jpg

Songwriting Tutor


Emily Barker is an Australian singer-songwriter, musician and composer. Her music has featured as the theme to BBC dramas Wallander and The Shadow Line. With multi-instrumental trio The Red Clay Halo, she has recorded four albums: Photos.Fires.Fables. (2006), Despite The Snow (2008), Almanac (2011), and Dear River (2013), whilst releasing a solo album The Toerag Sessions (2015). Other projects include Vena Portae (with Dom Coyote and Ruben Engzell) and Applewood Road (with Amy Speace and Amber Rubarth).