Key West Songwriters Fest a Rousing Success

Posted in News on May 22, 2006
The 11th annual Key West Songwriter Festival exceeded expectations and cemented its status May 3-7 as a must-attend event for Nashville songwriters. Sixty BMI songwriters and artists performed and mingled during a week's worth of intimate performances and group activities. Hit songwriter Wendell Mobley took advantage of the week's ample pleasures and views the festival as therapy: "The new AA... Advil and Aloe Vera," Mobley joked.

The group arrives in Key West. Pictured are: Front row (l to r): Wendell Mobley, Kylie Sackley, Virginia Davis, Jenn Schott, Melissa Pierce, Frank Myers, Vickie McGehee, Amber White, BMI's Bradley Collins, Cliff Cody; Back row (l to r): BMI's Mark Mason, Philip White, Fred Wilhelm, James Dean Hicks, Natalie Howard, Patrick Davis, Lee Brice, Brian Davis, BMI's Charlie Feldman and Eddy Raven. (Photo by Alan Mayor) 

The festival also saw its first wedding this year, as songwriters D. Vincent Williams and Melinda Hutchings tied the knot while friends and peers looked on and wished them well.

The Key West Songwriter Festival is the brain child of Hog's Breath Saloon general manager Charlie Baur, and has grown from a weekend's worth of shows for the locals into a week-long extravaganza featuring many of the hottest writers in the country. BMI's inaugural role began in the festival's infancy and has ripened into that of devoted supporter and sponsor. The number of BMI affiliates in attendance continues to grow each year as coveted slots multiply through the addition of nearby venues. "This has become a vital event for Music Row," BMI's Mark Mason reflected. "Really, it has the feel and significance of a SXSW for songwriters."

Hog's Breath Saloon's recently opened listening room hosted various combinations of songwriters throughout the festival. Pictured are: (l to r): Jim Collins and Wendell Mobley. (Photo by Alan Mayor)  

Songwriting elder statesman Hugh Prestwood attended the Key West festivities for the first time this year. "This was my first time at the festival. It was one of the most delightful experiences of my musical life -- a whirlwind immersion in a tropical Oz populated with amazing, hard-partying songwriters," he mused. "I came away inspired, rejuvenated and a bit hung-over. If good fortune allows, I am determined to be there every year."

Songwriting luminary Hugh Prestwood wowed fellow songwriters and audiences alike. (Photo by Alan Mayor) 

One is hard-pressed to find views that rival Key West's panorama. (Photo by Alan Mayor) 

Following their In-The-Round performance at the Key West Tropic Theatre are Tim Nichols, Marc Beeson, Craig Wiseman, Kendall Marvel, Jeffrey Steele and BMI's Shelby Kennedy. (Photo by Alan Mayor) 

A cruise ship docks in Key West. (Photo by Alan Mayor)

BMI writers Melinda Hutchings and D.Vincent Williams tie the knot poolside at the Mango Tree Inn in Key West.  

Festival organizers were presented with hand-painted mini ukuleles from their appreciative friends at BMI. Pictured are (l to r): BMI's Mark Mason, Hog's Breath owner and festival chairman Charlie Bauer, Mango Tree Inn owners Peggy and Johnny Newberry, "We've Got the Keys" event manager Nadene Grossman.  

BMI's Mary Loving and writer Vicky McGehee grab some shade at the Cinco de Mayo pool party, which featured acoustic performances by Detox & the Redneck Rock Stars, Brian Davis and James Otto. (Photo by Alan Mayor)

Some of the guys hang out during some down time. Pictured are (l to r): BMI's Mark Mason and songwriters Brett James, D. Vincent Williams, Chuck Jones and Jeffrey Steele. (Photo by Alan Mayor) 


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