Begin the New Year with Stories in Song!

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Top Performances from the Largest Gathering of Nationally Recognized Songwriters on The Florida Coast Perform Jan. 12-15

By Lori Leath Smith

What makes your favorite song your favorite? I’ve always said it’s likely the story it tells.
And that’s what is so special about the 30A Songwriters Festival. On Jan. 12-15, 2024, South Walton will be transformed into a story-in-song paradise and the “hottest” mid-January mecca for music fans. And the best part? It’s right in our back yard!

For the past 15 years, fans locally and from throughout the world converge at the 30A Songwriters Festival, which attracts thousands of dedicated live music fans to hear original songwriters spanning multiple genres perform their songs—the largest gathering of nationally recognized songwriters performing right here locally!

Scenic Highway 30A is home to 30 venues presenting more than 180 songwriters and 280+ solo, band and in-the-round performances throughout the weekend. These featured songwriters come from varied careers including local performers, aspiring Nashville artists and ones who’ve performed at sold-out arenas.

This year, the Festival turns 15 with performances on the main stage at presenting partner Grand Boulevard’s Town Center with headline performances by renowned artists Jeff Tweedy, Elvis Costello and The Imposters, Grace Potter, Rosanne Cash and KT Tunstall. Twenty-one newly confirmed artists to add to the 2024 line up include John Driskell Hopkins (Zac Brown Band), John Paul White, Kevn Kinney, Chris Stills, Wyatt Durrette, Ethan Hulse, Duncan Phillips, Boukou Groove, Donnie Sundal, Katie Martin, Larry Mitchell, Ken Johnson, Andi Zack-Johnson, Alex Rogers, The Rough & Tumble, Amanda Donald, The Krickets, The Late Night Losers, Gileah Taylor, Kyle Lamonica and The Mosleys.

Local amphitheaters, town halls, restaurants, theaters, bars and covered patios will be converted into unique music venues with state-of-the-art sound systems and capacities ranging from 100 to 1000 seats indoors and 6,000 outdoors.

Co-produced by Russell Carter Artist Management and the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton, the festival’s net proceeds support the CAA’s mission to advance the Arts in our area.

“We are thrilled to host Elvis Costello in January 2024,” comments Russell Carter, President of Russell Carter Artist Management and Festival Co-Producer. “Most Artists who break commercially do so after many years of hard development work. Elvis Costello flat out burst on the international scene with his debut album My Aim is True. Seemingly out of nowhere he appeared on Saturday Night Live with a name borrowed from Presley and looks apprehended from Buddy Holly. He proceeded to rage like the British punk and pub rocker that he was. His debut record demonstrated a melodic sense on par with Lennon & McCartney and a lyrical and poetic prowess comparable to Dylan. Over several decades of album releases, Elvis has recorded amazing songs encompassing R&B, country, jazz, baroque pop, Tin Pan Alley and classical music. It is with tremendous pride that we introduce Elvis Costello, one of my very favorite artists and one of our generation’s greatest songwriters, to the 30A Songwriters Festival.

“As we approach the 15th anniversary of the 30A Songwriters Festival, we want to acknowledge how fortunate we are to have hosted so many world class musicians in our small beach community,” says Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County Executive Director and Co-Producer Jennifer Steele. “We gambled in 2010 that touring musicians would enjoy spending an extended weekend performing along the uniquely beautiful coast on the Gulf of Mexico, and fortunately Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Jason Isbell, Mavis Staples, John Prine, Indigo Girls, Brian Wilson, Brandi Carlile, Grace Potter and hundreds more have proved us right. Our Festival is a partnership with venues, resort communities, rental agencies and hotels along Hwy. 30A and beyond, along with important regional and national business sponsors who all benefit from the exposure to the many thousands of music lovers the Festival attracts. Most importantly, our local community benefits as 100% of the Festival’s net proceeds are further invested in our mission to foster creativity and our vision of a thriving Walton County where everyone experiences the power of the Arts.”
Adds Carter, “There is a direct correlation between the success of the 30A Songwriters Festival and the richness of cultural arts experiences in our communities, including an Art in Public Spaces program (murals and sculptures), The Foster Gallery that supports local artists, professional theatre, the Underwater Museum of Art, Flutterby Children’s Arts Festival and the ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival.”

Festival Weekend Passes are currently available at www.30asongwritersfestival.com. VIP tickets that include premium seating and complementary gourmet food and drinks in the VIP tent on Saturday and Sunday afternoons are also available. For a full description of each ticket package including VIP mainstage and full weekend transportation packages for groups of 2 up to 12, visit www.30asongwritersfestival.com.

The 30A Songwriters Festival is presented by Grand Boulevard with additional support from Visit South Walton, the Florida Department of State Division of Arts & Culture, WaterColor Inn and Resort and ASCAP.