Inaugural Salt Water Music Fest Oct 12-14

September 27, 2023 by SoWal Staff

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) will usher in the fall 2023 cultural arts season with something new ... and salty!

The first-ever Salt Water Music Fest, presented by Salt Water Vacations and MKAF, brings Destin music lovers a sensational three-day music showcase celebration to raise funds and awareness for MKAF — Destin’s champion of the cultural arts for all.

The two-day music festival is Thursday, Oct. 12, and Friday, Oct. 13 at MKAF’s Cultural Arts Village in Destin with a singer/songwriter brunch to follow on Sunday, Oct. 14 at Soleil in Destin.

Grammy-winning pop songstress Macy Gray, best known for her international hit single I Try, headlines the inaugural Salt Water Music Festival on Thursday, Oct. 12. Joining this captivating, eclectic R&B talent on stage is her band, The California Jet Club performing hot tracks from her newest album, The Reset.

The event will also feature an evening of five of Nashville’s hottest singer/songwriters including Ben Burgess, Jared Mullins, Jordan Minton, Jordan Reynolds, the Josh Mirenda Band along with headliner country music duo LOCASH. Music lovers can meet and greet many of the singer/songwriters during Brunch at Soleil on Saturday, Oct. 14. The event will include multiple food trucks, beverage bars, merchandise retail sales as well as artist meet & greets (for some ticket levels).

Advance tickets are priced from $50 per person. General admission lawn seating and table seating will be available for individuals. Full tables (seating eight) are available starting from $750. VIP Tables are from $1,500 and include prime seating, VIP tent access, drink coupons, a cash bar, onsite VIP parking passes, and more. More details to come.

Tickets for the Salt Water Music Festival are available for purchase online at

MKAF’s fall 2023 season continues with Unplugged — a new series featuring intimate “listening lounge” concerts on Wednesday, Oct. 25, and Wednesday, Nov.1 showcasing musicians and small bands performing acoustic sets on the Sunset Terrace of Henderson Beach Resort in Destin. More details to come.

This year’s 28th annual Festival of the Arts kicks off a day early with something new on Friday, Oct. 27 — the Arty Kick-Off Party at Henderson Beach Resort in Destin. The juried Festival exhibition of more than 100 artists follows on Saturday, Oct. 28 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday, Oct. 29 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin. Additions to this year’s free celebration of art, music, food, and family fun will be expanded food & beverage offerings, a VIP Lounge experience, a Splatter Studio for kids, a live theater showcase, and more. More details to come.

A part of MKAF’s Artful Dining series, the 11th Annual Wine Walkabout will be held on Thursday, Nov. 9 at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Destin. Guests will sip fine domestic and imported wines, savor delectable bites by Chef Ruston Johnson, enjoy live music along with a wine pull, silent auction, an exciting drawing of valuable prizes, and more. More details to come.

Proceeds from all MKAF events benefit MKAF and its community education initiative, ArtsReach including the groundbreaking arts therapy program, Warrior Arts, Arts for All Abilities, and arts education throughout Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay Counties.

MKAF is mission-driven and membership-based. Members receive benefits during the fall events including exclusive preview ticket sales to the Salt Water Music Festival, discounts on Festival of the Arts merchandise, and a 10 percent discount to the 11th Annual Wine Walkabout.    

To make a tax-deductible donation, provide a corporate sponsorship, or register for MKAF membership, visit or call (850) 650-2226.


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