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May 22, 2006
BMI News

Key West Songwriters Fest a Rousing Success

The 11th annual Key West Songwriter Festival exceeded expectations and cemented its status May 3-7 as a must-attend event for Nashville songwriters. Sixty BMI songwriters and artists performed and mingled during a week's worth of intimate performances and group activities. Hit songwriter Wendell Mobley took advantage of the week's ample pleasures and views the festival as therapy: "The new AA... Advil and Aloe Vera," Mobley joked.

The festival also saw its first wedding this year, as songwriters D. Vincent Williams and Melinda Hutchings tied the knot while friends and peers looked on and wished them well.

The Key West Songwriter Festival is the brain child of Hog's Breath Saloon general manager Charlie Baur, and has grown from a weekend's worth of shows for the locals into a week-long extravaganza featuring many of the hottest writers in the country. BMI's inaugural role began in the festival's infancy and has ripened into that of devoted supporter and sponsor. The number of BMI affiliates in attendance continues to grow each year as coveted slots multiply through the addition of nearby venues. "This has become a vital event for Music Row," BMI's Mark Mason reflected. "Really, it has the feel and significance of a SXSW for songwriters."

Songwriting elder statesman Hugh Prestwood attended the Key West festivities for the first time this year. "This was my first time at the festival. It was one of the most delightful experiences of my musical life -- a whirlwind immersion in a tropical Oz populated with amazing, hard-partying songwriters," he mused. "I came away inspired, rejuvenated and a bit hung-over. If good fortune allows, I am determined to be there every year."

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