KEY WEST, Florida Keys — More than 100 top performing songwriters are to showcase their hits in intimate, audience-friendly settings during the 16th annual Key West Songwriters Festival. Scheduled Wednesday, April 27, through Sunday, May 1, the musical magic consists of 40-plus shows on 28 stages.
The star-studded talent lineup features Raul Malo, founder and frontman for the multiplatinum Mavericks; award-winning Nashville hitmaker Jamey Johnson; Jerrod Niemann, whose “Lover Lover” topped the charts in 2010; Bo Bice of “American Idol” fame and unparalleled Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen.
Prime among the other performers are Bob DiPiero, whose hits include Tim McGraw’s “Southern Voice”; Randy Houser, acclaimed for his top single “Boots On”; songwriting legend Keith Stegall, who produced the number-one smash “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” for Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson; James Slater, whose “Key West Address” was named the island city’s official song in 2008, and Chuck Cannon, who co-wrote “How Do You Like Me Now?” with Toby Keith.
Venues range from popular Key West bars and restaurants, resort beaches and poolsides, to an arts complex and the Fury Catamaran during a series of musical sunset cruises.
Festival highlights are expected to include Thursday and Friday night shows at the majestic San Carlos Institute, a Cuban cultural center at 516 Duval St., and Tropic Cinema, a boutique cinema and theater at 416 Eaton St.
Most shows feature a rotating group of writer/performers who play their hits, introduce new melodies, share creative insights and relate the stories behind their songs. Many performances are free.
Title sponsored by Better Angels Music and presented by international performing rights organization BMI, the festival benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
Event information, schedule and ticketing: www.kwswf.com
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY