What began as a grassroots songwriters festival in January to benefit the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, has now grown into one of the country’s most revered festivals. Talented songwriters and eager visitors travel to the beach into an otherwise quiet time of year to create the perfect symbiotic relationship between listener and artist in quaint venues along 30A.
In its fifth year, the festival, scheduled for Jan. 17-19, has some exciting elements in store for guests including a dedicated radio station, complimentary shuttles, VIP wine and music dinners, a CAA members-only concert and more than 150 performing artists including such esteemed artists as Kristian Bush (Sugarland), Loudon Wainwright III, Ani DiFranco, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Richard Thompson, Shawn Mullins, John Oates, Rusty Young (Poco), Jonathan Edwards, Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League), John Gorka, Mary Gauthier, James McMurtry, Bob Schneider, Glenn Phillips Band, Matthew Sweet, Jeffrey Steele, Jim Lauderdale and Tinsley Ellis, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.
The 30A Songwriters Festivalis known throughout the music world as a destination where writers who perform their own music, and performers who write their own songs, come together for a weekend of soulful melodies, powerful vocals and compelling lyrics. Two VIP music dinners with guest chefs Stephen Satterfield from Miller Union and Joe Truex from Watershed (both in Atlanta) with wine pairings selected by wine expert Adam Caperton (former owner of The Larder on 30A) have been added to the 2014 schedule.
“There is a profound meeting of the minds with everyone involved in the festival,” says Russell Carter, co-producer/festival chair. “Musicians across the country have experienced — or heard about — the rewards of performing on 30A in unique venues in front of the best listening audiences possible. Meanwhile, music fans near and far have learned that 30A is the annual premier music destination for the third weekend of January.”
“The success of our festival from the start has resulted in part from the positive support of our local businesses and volunteers,” says Jennifer Steele, co-producer/executive director of the CAA. “Each year we add new venues and housing partners, renew our relationships with volunteers, and add corporate sponsors who are passionate about the arts in Walton County. As the stature of our event grows internationally, we remain thankful for the grassroots support of our South Walton community.”
The 30a Songwriters Festival is co-produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) and Russell Carter Artist Management, and is presented by Visit South Walton. 100 percent of the net proceeds from the 30A Songwriters Festival benefit the CAA and help it to fulfill its mission to support the arts throughout Walton County. Members of the CAA receive an additional 10 percent off weekend passes and admission to an exclusive performance on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Fish Out of Water. Call (850) 622-5970 to become a member and take advantage of the discount.
Special housing packages can be found from lodging partners The Homeowners’ Collection in Seaside,SunburstBeach Vacations, Ocean Reef Vacation Rentals, Beach Rentals of South Walton, Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard and Resort Quest.
For more information on the 2014 30A Songwriters Festival, including a full list of artists, venues, maps and ticket purchase information, visit www.30asongwritersfestival.com
“The 30A Songwriters Festival is the Sundance of songwriter festivals,” said songwriter Joe Leathers.
Insider tips on getting the most out of the festival:
• Choose a favorite venue rather than artist and make that your hub for the night or weekend. (You’ll be surprised with discovering new favorite artists while enjoying your favorites as well.)
• Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to wait in lines based on popularity of the performer and size of the venue. If there is someone you really want to hear, get there early.
• Download the official 30A Songwriters Festival app for Android and iPhone to stay up to date with schedule changes, maps, shuttle locations and more essential info.
• Take the complimentary shuttle! If you must drive, account for drive time and choose your venues based on proximity to one another.
• Wear layers when going from indoor to outdoor performances. Official 30ASWF blankets, fleeces and jackets will be for sale at Festival headquarters and outdoor venue.
• Listen to the official online radio station to sample 2014 artists before planning your schedule: http://30aswf.gigdog.fm