Have you ever wondered what is the story behind a favorite pop music tune? Every song has a writer, and they aren’t often in the foreground. The stories behind the songs can be far more interesting if told by the writer — and that is the idea behind the first ever Martha’s Vineyard Songwriters’ Festival this weekend.

The two-night event will showcase the writer-performers. The festival opens tonight at the Katharine Cornell Theatre, and there will be a second show tomorrow night at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs.

There are at least 11 songwriters confirmed for the festival. Their music ranges from contemporary pop to country genres. They come from Nashville, Florida, California and Great Britain. The only thing they share in common, besides being songwriters, is a connection to Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), a firm that collects license fees for songwriters, composers and music publishers. Plus they’re now good friends with Charlie Bauer, who created this event.

Mr. Bauer is the founder of the Key West Songwriters’ Festival, now in its 15th year, with 30 shows over five days. His success with that festival has brought with it the hope of doing the same on Martha’s Vineyard.

“These are the people who write the hits,” said Mr. Bauer. “What I discovered when I started the songwriters’ festival, is that these are all good artists. They are great performers in their own right,” he said, speaking from a cell phone in Key West. Plus, he said, the songwriters bring the stories behind the songs.

“For anyone who enjoys James Taylor and Cat Stevens, you get to sit down and listen to a show. The performers are a little bit storytellers, they talk about life experience,” Mr. Bauer said. “They are real personal.”

Kim Carnes has written three number one country songs: The Heart Won’t Lie, Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer and Make No Mistake She’s Mine. Her songs have been recorded by Kenny Rogers and Ronnie Milsap. She has co-authored with a host of Nashville songwriters.

Another songwriter in the festival is Scotty Emerick. He has written tunes for Willie Nelson and Toby Keith.

Scott Kirby, a contemporary folksinger with a flair for the guitar comes from New Hampshire but spends plenty of time in Key West. He has been pushing professional music for a decade, writing his own songs. His latest release is 4 Good Dogs.

It is not all guitar; from Great Britain there is pop singer/songwriter Lucie Silvas, singing and playing piano.

Other songwriters include Chris Barron, Jeff Cohen, Natalie Hemby, Paul Overstreet, Billy Panda, Hugh Prestwood and James Slater.

The magic of these two nights isn’t just from afar. Mr. Bauer said the idea of holding the songwriters’ festival here began early this summer when he took his idea to two Vineyard women whose unrelated names begin with “Gold.” He had a conversation with locals Susan Goldstein, co-owner with her husband Sherm of the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven, along with Susan Sigel Goldsmith of TicketsMV. The two Vineyarders tried to be helpful. He calls them “Golden.”

“We are a music place,” said Ms. Goldsmith. “When I heard about it, I got excited ... Just read the bios of these songwriters. I don’t know their names, but I know their songs.”

Ms. Goldstein said she did some research about the Key West Songwriters’ Festival and saw it was a perfect match for the Island. “It is huge in Key West.

“We are doing this in September,” she said. “We think it will grow into a shoulder season event.”

Mr. Bauer hopes the Vineyard venue will not only promote the songwriters but will cultivate new songs. “The writers, they’ll get together. They’ll do impromptu performing. The fans will love that. They’ll say they saw the inside of a song.”

The songwriters’ festival Web site is mvswf.com.

Tonight’s show from 8 to 10:30 p.m. at Katharine Cornell Theatre on Spring street in Vineyard Haven features performers Jeff Cohen, Lucie Silvas, Natalie Hemby, Scott Kirby, James Slater, Daniel Tashian and Hugh Prestwood.

Saturday, Sept. 19, from 8 to 10:30 p.m. at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs will showcase Paul Overstreet, Scotty Emerick, Kim Carnes and Chris Barron.

Advance tickets are $25 per night, or $45 for both nights.