BUZ LIVINGSTON: Fear and loathing at the 30A Songwriters Festival

Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 09:40 AM.

Well, almost.

My plan was to cover the Songwriters Fest as a journalist … Hunter S. Thompson with a southern accent. While gathering the accoutrements necessary for Gonzo journalism, sunglasses, Swiss Army knife, Leatherman pocket tool and appropriate libations, bad news landed on the doorstep.

Someone scooped my press pass and back to the financial beat the cub reporter went. Thompson cut his teeth on the precursor to the Northwest Florida Daily News, an amusing concept for his devotees.

Our Songwriter Festival has been so popular with attendees along with artists that an alternative, The Swampwriters Festival, popped up. That’s good, too, keeps ‘em honest. A few years back during a break at the Seaside Rep, Kim Collins of The Smoking Flowers said locals had no idea how big this was going to be.

You know you are doing something right when folks have a second choice. While Marie’s Bistro packed in the crowds, the 30A’s counterculture missed the big deal.

When it’s all said and done, the unofficial kick-off party was not at WaterColor or Pandoras but a week earlier at The Grayt Coffee House. With a little help from my friends, I jumpstarted a new dance parlor in Grayton. Grayton needs another place to dance like Destin needs another condo, but blame Eric Lindell, a pedal steel guitar player and a Texas longhorn hide. Before you knew it, furniture landed in the front yard and folks were twisting the night away.

After closing up the honky tonk, I felt compelled to buy his latest CD. He hooked me with the Aretha Franklin tribute but the next cut gave us today’s financial planning lesson: Stop living like other people and live for yourself.

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