The 25th Annual Key West Songwriters Festival is returning to the island May 5-9. This year’s festival will host nearly 100 of the world’s most prolific hitmakers and up-and coming songwriters on 12 different stages in a pared-down setting due to the ongoing pandemic.
The festival traditionally hosts over 200 songwriters across 38 stages at an array of Key West’s most popular beaches, boats, bars, resorts and historic theaters, but in an effort to prepare for social distancing and sanitation protocols, this year’s festival has been condensed with reduced capacities and transitioned to mostly outdoor performances. Organizers are focused on bringing back the music and putting the writers in intimate venues to create a special experience unique to previous years. Most of the shows will be free to enter, but there will be a number of performances that will require advance ticket purchase to be announced later this month.
“We know that the news and information on the festival is getting out late,” says Festival founder Charlie Bauer. “We know there have been a lot of questions that we just couldn’t answer in the last couple months. In 25 years, it’s become this international event and in years past we would have released way more information by now. This year has been a real challenge, obviously. We’ve been waiting until we were confident that we could pull off a safe event for the fans, artists, attendees, sponsors, volunteers, service providers and our community at large; that time is now. This event will look very different in size and scope. Rest assured, that’s intentional too.”
Over the years, the festival has become a breeding ground for breaking new talent and is one of the most sought-after invites within the Nashville songwriting community. Notable Key West Songwriter Festival alumni include Kacey Musgraves, Brad Paisley, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Combs, Maren Morris and Cole Swindell.