KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Featuring some 200 performing songwriters in 50-plus shows, the Key West Songwriters Festival brings together chart-topping hitmakers and emerging talents in an unparalleled five-day medley for music fans.
Audiences can savor everything from powerhouse country rock and blues to Americana Wednesday through Sunday, May 9-13, at concerts and jam sessions in intimate, casual island settings. Now in its 23rd year, the festival has become a tradition for an unparalleled group of writers and musicians.
The 2018 lineup includes Tyler Farr, known for his hits “Redneck Crazy” and “Whiskey in My Water”; Walker Hayes, whose album “boom” is fast climbing the charts; country band LANCO of “Greatest Love Story” fame; Jeffrey Steele, whose credits include “The Cowboy in Me” for Tim McGraw; iconic Texas talent Robert Earl Keen and songwriting superstar Scotty Emerick.
Most shows feature a rotating group of writer/performers and many have no admission charge. Headquartered at Key West’s Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, 4 Charles St., the festival includes offerings staged at island city bars, restaurants, resort beaches and poolsides and even aboard the Fury Catamaran during sunset cruises.
Events are to kick off at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, with a “Texas Bash on the Pier” hosted by broadcaster Storme Warren at the Margaritaville Resort & Marina overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at 245 Front St. Scheduled headliners are Keith Gattis & the Amigos featuring Jack Ingram, Wade Bowen and others.
Anticipated festival highlights include ticketed group shows Wednesday through Friday nights at venues including the San Carlos Institute, a Cuban cultural center at 516 Duval St., Tropic Cinema at 416 Eaton St. and the Key West Theater at 512 Eaton St.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, a free “main stage” concert is scheduled in the 200 block of Key West’s Duval Street. Hosted by Storme Warren, the high-energy show features LANCO, Farr and Hayes.
The festival concludes Sunday, when fans of live music can enjoy a 6-10 p.m. all-star show at Key West’s Truman Waterfront Amphitheater on East Quay Road.
Festival information, schedule and ticketing: kwswf.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY