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SoWal Insider's Guide to 30A Songwriters Festival 2015 [Updated]

January 13, 2015 by SoWal Staff

Songwriters and music lovers are headed to South Walton from every direction. The 6th edition of the 30A Songwriters Festival will be bigger and better, with more great music from January 16-18, 2015.

2015 30A Songwriters Festival SCHEDULE 230 performances by 150 artists on 25 stages!

  • Download 30A Songwriters Festival schedule by VENUE
  • Download 30A Songwriters Fetival schedule by ARTIST
  • Download 30A Songwriters Festival schedule by DAY

Click here to see the lineup with artist info.

We will add updates to this post as we receive them - so check back often.

Click here to buy tickets!

- Get your official 30A Songwriters Festival gear at the WaterColor Box Office at Fish Out of Water ground floor and at Gulf Place during the outdoor shows there. There's no better way to show off back home than a 30A Songwriters T-shirt or cap. Besides if it's chilly you'll need to add layers. Or bypass the lines and buy gear online.

- Grayton Beer Company is the official festival beer. You can find Grayton Beer at every festival venue. Tip - buy Grayton Beer gear online at www.graytonbeer.com.

- The 30A Songwriters Festival has partnered with GigDog.fm to create an exclusive online radio station featuring the upcoming 2015 artists. Hear them online before you hear them live at 30aswf.gigdog.fm !


The Setting - Florida's amazing Scenic Highway 30A with our string of postcard-perfect towns & communities.


The Stages - Stellar stages and intimate rooms
Caliza Restaurant in Alys Beach, Pandora's Steakhouse in Grayton Beach, Fish Out of Water in WaterColor, Bud and Alley's and Pizza Bar in SeasideHibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse, Rosemary Beach Town Hall, 723 Whiskey Bravo, and many more.

Some venues are intimate and quiet and you should keep talking to a minimum. Some venues get pretty loud - especially late night.

The Producers - Russell Carter, co-producer/Festival Chair,Russell Carter Artist Management Jennifer Steele, co-producer/Executive Director of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA)

Jennifer and Russell form a dynamic duo from two organizations that bring together talent on the stage and behind the scenes. Russell's contacts and wealth of talent on hand fill the stages and venues, bringing together every year a surge of great music hitting our beaches. Jennifer is a mainstay on the South Walton art scene (a formidable acting and singing talent herself), who marshals the forces of sponsors and volunteers to handle the thousands of details to make the magic happen. 100% 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.

The Artists We have amazing stages, but what makes the 30A Songwriters Festival so special is the depth and diversity of writers who perform their own music, and performers who write their own songs. Surprises happen during the festival and create the sweetest moments and fondest memories. It's the thrill of an unexpected artist who catches your ear as you walk between venues. The unknown songbird that grabs your heart as you arrive early for the "bigger name" show.

The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) - CAA is the officially designated local arts agency that serves as an umbrella organization and supports the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs and education. The vision of the CAA is to be the catalyst for Walton County's growth as a center for artistic and cultural excellence through which lives are enriched, economy is stimulated and community is strengthened. Visit www.culturalartsalliance.com to learn more and become a member!

Members of the CAA receive an additional 10% 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.

The CAA is always looking for volunteers to help out with the 30A Songwriters Festival - you'll get insider access, see some great music, and help support the arts in Walton County.

Lodging - Be sure to check the lodging section on the 30A Songwriters Festival website for information on specials from festival lodging partners, including Sunburst Beach Vacations, St. Joe Club & Resorts, Ocean Reef Vacation Rentals, Homeowner's Collection, Beach Rentals of South Walton,  The Pearl Hotel, and ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals - all are also SoWal.com Rental Partners.


The Inside Scoop - The 30A Songwriters Festival has gotten bigger and better every year. And more popular with more locals and visitors who snap up tickets - they sell out so don't wait, get yours now! Take a look at the lineup and take advantage of all the shows you can in a fun-filled weekend at the world's most beautiful beaches.

Yes, there are plenty of great shows - but try to slow down. As the excitement of the 30A Songwriters Festival builds, you might find yourself rushing to get to the next venue. Stop yourself and slow down! The best moments are often the unexpected ones between the jams - meeting new friends or talking to an "unknown" performer who you won't be able to get near - later on when they hit it big.


The LinksThe official 30A Songwriters Festival Website, The 30A Songwriters Festival on Facebook, The 30A Songwriters Festival on Twitter @30AFest, #30AFest

Take a look at some individual performances and compilations from past 30A Songwriters Festivals on the SoWal Youtube Channel

SoWal Photo Galleries - 20112012, 2013, 2014

Update 1/8/15

The sixth annual 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL -- set for January 16, 17 and 18, 2015 in South Walton County, FL -- has added many more artists to the line-up for the 2015 celebration of singers and songs. The festival will feature performances from esteemed artists Graham Nash, Indigo Girls, Leon Russell, Jason Isbell, Shawn Mullins, Rodney Crowell, Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket). Also confirmed are Jeffrey Steele, Chely Wright, Bobby Bare Jr., Steve Poltz, Angaleena Presley, Jesse Harris, Mary Gauthier, Hayes Carll, Bob Schneider, Ellis Paul, Allison Moorer, Deana Carter, Luther Dickinson (from Mississippi Allstars) with Amy LaVere, Will Sexton and Cody Dickinson; Peter Karp & Sue Foley and David Ryan Harris.  
The 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL is known throughout the music community as a destination where writers who perform their own music, and performers who write their own songs, come together for a weekend to perform varied genres of music ranging from country to blues as well as soul and Americana. Expect a bit of Bossa Nova as well. For audiences, it's a rare chance to connect with their favorite artists in a more intimate, informal setting in Florida's South Walton County. Festival weekend passes are now available for $225 at http://www.30asongwritersfestival.com/content/tickets and locally on 30A at the Cultural Arts Alliance office and at Central Square Records in Seaside. Special VIP packages are also available; info is available at the 30A website.
Graham Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice (with The Hollies in 2010 and with Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997) as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009. Simply put, he is one of music's most legendary singer songwriters and vocal harmony singers (and a renowned photographer and leading activist in our society). Leon Russell, a fellow inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, could be famous for his session work in the 60's (the Byrds, the Beach Boys, Phil Spector's hits are just a few) or his band leadership and production work with Bob Dylan, Delaney & Bonnie, Joe Cocker and George Harrison, or for writing "A Song For You" covered by dozens of hit makers. Alas he is famous for all of these as well as the fact that no one has ever captivated arena rock audiences more than Leon Russell sitting at or standing on a grand piano.
Additional artists confirmed for 2015 include Psycho Sisters (Vicki Peterson and Susan Cowsill), Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League), John Driskell Hopkins (Zac Brown Band), John Moreland, Gabriel Kelley, Rusty Young (Poco), Toby Lightman, Liz Longley, Heather Maloney, Chas Sandford, Gretchen Peters, Charlie Mars, Randall Bramblett, Chris Stills, Griffin House, Marti Jones, Don Dixon, Kim Richey, Kyle Jacobs, Ruston Kelley, Joe Leathers, Billy Montana, Will Kimbrough, Brigitte DeMeyer, David Olney, Dana Cooper, Grayson Capps, Sugarcane Jane, Willie Sugarcapps, Tommy Womack, Pierce Pettis, Grant Peeples, Pete Sallis, Smokin' Novas, Tommy Talton, David Berkeley, Dave Franklin, Jeff Black, Caleb Caudle, Aaron Lee Tasjan,  Davin McCoy,  Brian White, Karyn Williams, Cooper Carter & the Royal Senders, Old Salt Union, Paul Cebar, Jaren Johnston, Marc Beeson, Mark D. Sanders, Brandon Lay, Hunter Phelps, Jameson Rodgers, Jonathan Singleton, Ryan Hurd, Jeremy Stover plus many more.
The 30A Songwriters Festival production team spares no time or expense bringing in state of the art stage, sound and lighting equipment to configure unique listening rooms in each of the 25 venues that partner with the festival each year to produce over 200 shows throughout the weekend; amphitheaters, town halls, restaurants, theaters, bars and covered patios all become magical musical night clubs ranging in capacity from 75 to 400 indoors and 3500 outdoors.
VIP wine and music dinners are offered at WaterSound Beach Club.  Saturday  will feature two prominent Virginia producers, Border Springs Lamb Farm and Rappahannock River Oyster Company. Jay Pierce, the new executive chef at Rocksalt in Charlotte will share the kitchen with Brandon Carter, the Executive Chef at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff -- Bluffton, SC. Music will be provided by 30A Songwriters Festival favorite Jeffrey Steele.  Sunday will be hosted by Nathan Allen, the owner and chef at Knife & Fork in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. The special music guest is David Ryan Harris, singer songwriter and guitarist  extraordinaire. Wine pairings for both dinners will be provided by Adam Caperton.. 
Several VIP packages offering VIP seating sections in the bigger venues, exclusive personal town car or limousine transportation for the entire weekend and a VIP tent serving complementary lunch, beer and wine at Gulf Place Amphitheater are available online at www.30asongwritersfestival.com. Graham Nash will appear for a Q&A and book signing on Sunday morning at WaterColor  and Jason Isbell will perform solo acoustic for a VIP party at Grayton Beer Company on Sunday night.
The 30A Songwriters Festival venue partners include Fish Out of Water, The Boat House, The Lake House, The Gathering Spot, Pandora's, Pizza Bar, Bud & Alley's, Central Square Records, Caliza at Alys Beach, The Pearl, Rosemary Beach Town Hall, Vue, Gulf Place, Amavida, WaterSound Beach Club, 723 Whiskey Bravo, Summer Kitchen, Seaside Meeting Hall, Hibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse, The Old Florida Fish House and The Bowery on 30A.. 
"There is a very special excitement and vibe that is palpable every year throughout 30A in January, the month of the Festival," says Russell Carter of Russell Carter Artist Management and Festival Producer. "The common emotional thread among us all including the musicians, organizers, volunteers, venues, lodging partners, corporate sponsors and most certainly the ticket buyers, is an absolute love for great songwriting and exceptional musical performances. We are all moved and informed by musical expressions, showmanship, glamour, humor, and outright drama - it is high art on 30A! ." 
 "Each year we build on the success of the prior year," says Jennifer Steele, Executive Director of the Cultural Arts Alliance and Festival Producer. "Our greatest marketing asset is the word of mouth enthusiasm that is spread by performing musicians and the fans that come to see them. The 30A community of businesses and individual volunteers take personal pride in participating in an event unique to the culture and geography of our Gulf Coast community in South Walton. It is particularly gratifying to be able to say that 30A is a place where writers are inspired, songs are written and amazing performances are staged time and time again."                  


Update 1/9/15

Gulf Place Lineup

SATURDAY (full bands) 11:00 - doors open
11:15 - Cooper Carter and the Royal Senders
12:00 - Bobby Bare, Jr.
1:15  - Jason Isbell
3:00 - Leon Russell
SUNDAY (acoustic) 11:00 - doors open
11:15 - Reed Waddle
12:00 - Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek)
1:15 - Indigo Girls
3:00 - Graham Nash


Update 1/10/15

Its up!  www.30asongwritersfestival.com/2015-30aswf-schedule   
The schedule is on the website and it is being programed into the phone app. As I have said every year at this juncture, the schedule is about 99% finished. Study it and plan out your weekend in advance as much as you like but please remember to review the printed schedule that you receive at check in - revisions and updates will have been made by then.             

I am happy to announce that we have booked Robert Ellis this week for the Festival and will showcase him in a couple of our great night time venues. In the internet age we are all exposed to more music than we can digest and most of it is good at best but rarely amazing. Robert is a rare, truly talented artist and, given that he is only 24, we get to see him early in what surely will be a long and storied musical career!  
I am sorry to report that Over the Rhine had to cancel due to an illness that requires immediate and somewhat extended attention. I told them that they have a legion of fans attending the Festival that will be very disappointed and all I can do is assure you, the fans, that OTR has an open invitation to return next year and assure them, the band, that we all wish them a speedy recovery.   

Tickets for the Festival and the various VIP packages are still available in limited numbers.

Weekend passes and transporting VIP packages
Saturday VIP dinner
Sunday VIP dinner
VIP Jason Isbell Sunday night show
Graham Nash Book Signing
See you next week. Its going to be a sensational sixth annual event.
Best regards, Russell Carter          

JASON ISBELL VIP SHOW | $60 (limited tickets available)
PURCHASE NOW! Join Jason Isbell for a special solo acoustic performance at Grayton Beer Company on Hwy. 98 at 7:00 pm on Sunday, January 18th. Doors open at 6:00 pm.  VIP Guests will receive free beer courtesy of Grayton Beer Company as well as dedicated shuttle service to and from the Watercolor Publix parking lot on Hwy. 395.  The shuttle will pickup guests at 5:30 pm and return them at the conclusion of the event.  Buy your tickets now for an up close and personal performance by Jason Isbell. Tickets are very limited in number so buy now if you want to see this show.  YOU MUST HAVE A WEEKEND PASS AND A PRINT OUT OF THIS VIP TICKET TO BE ADMITTED INTO THIS EVENT.
PURCHASE NOW! Join Graham Nash at 11:00 am on Sunday, January 18 at Fish out of Water at Watercolor Inn where he will do a 30 minute Q&A session followed by autographing copies of his new book, Wild Tales.  Space is limited so buy now!  BRING A PRINT OUT OF THIS TICKET TO RECEIVE YOUR BOOK AT THE EVENT.


Update 1/13/15

Greetings... The week is upon us. Here are some reminders and helpful tips for everyone coming into town.

1 - Check in personally at the box office at WaterColor Inn (34 Golden Rod Circle, 32459) rather than send someone. You will receive help downloading the phone app, can fill out the survey, can review the map and discuss the venues with staff, buy merchandise, review the program and the final printed schedule and get general advice on how to maximize your Festival experience. It is worth your time!

2 - The box office hours are as follows:
Wednesday  4:00 - 7:00
Thursday 10:00 - 8:00
Friday 10:00 -10:00
Saturday 10:00 - 8:00
Sunday 10:00 - 2:00

3 - The printed program that you receive at check in is different from what was published last week.  It will conform to what is on the website and phone app on the 16th however. Please note that the Secret Sisters and Robert Ellis are on your schedule - they were confirmed this week and both are great singer songwriters!

4 - The shuttle buses will be running back and forth on 30A from Vue to Rosemary Beach from 5:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m., Friday through Sunday. You can trace their routing on the phone app and see when they will be arriving at any particular stop. All stops are listed on the map, on the website and in the program.

5 - Our best advise to everyone is to not wait in any long lines. There are over 150 artists performing 230 shows this weekend.. You cannot walk into a venue and see anything other than amazing music. Become a new fan of ten artists that you were unfamiliar with. This weekend is a great opportunity to discover new music!

6 - Your weekend pass gets you into all venues all weekend on a first come first served basis.

7 - Gulf Place opens at 11:00am on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is a plugged-in, full band show from start to finish (Cooper Carter, Bobby Bare Jr, Jason Isbell, Leon Russell) while Sunday is more acoustic (Reed Waddle, Sara Watkins, Indigo Girls, Graham Nash). Come early and stay all afternoon - the food and beverage menu is varied and extensive - no coolers allowed but plenty of great food, wine and beer will be sold on the premises.

8 - There are still a limited number of tickets available to the following (but we are close to sell out in all instances): www.30asongwritersfestival.com/content/tickets

    a - weekend Festival passes
    b - Sunday VIP four course dinner with Chef Nathan Allen from Knife & Fork in N.C. with music by David Ryan Harris and wine selected by Adam Caperton
    c - Sunday morning book signing with Graham Nash at Fish Out of Water in WaterColor at 11:00 a.m.
    d - Sunday night VIP solo acoustic Jason Isbell show at Grayton Beer Company with free beer and free shuttle from 30A to the event and back to 30A

See you this weekend! Best regards, Russell


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Offering news, features, insider tips & info, photos and video all across the South Walton area.

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