KEY WEST, Florida Keys — The writers behind some of America’s hottest contemporary hits are to perform in casual island settings Wednesday through Sunday, May 2-6, during the 17th annual Key West Songwriters Festival. More than 100 performing songwriters are to take the stage for 30-plus shows during the lively five-day event.

Among those scheduled to showcase their talents are Dallas Davidson, 2012 Academy of Country Music Songwriter of the Year winner; Matraca Berg, co-writer of Kenny Chesney’s chart-topping duet “You and Tequila”; rockabilly legend Billy Burnette, a former Fleetwood Mac band member; Jeff Hanna, founding member of the iconic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; Bob DiPiero, whose hits include Tim McGraw’s “Southern Voice”; Luke Laird, co-writer of “So Small” and “Last Name” for Carrie Underwood, and Chuck Cannon, who co-wrote “How Do You Like Me Now?” with Toby Keith.

Most shows feature a rotating group of writer/performers and many have no admission charge. Venues include popular Key West bars, restaurants, resort beaches and poolsides, an arts complex and the Fury Catamaran during musical sunset cruises.

At 7 p.m. Saturday night, a free show starring singer/songwriter Jeffrey Steele and his band is scheduled in the 200 block of Key West’s Duval Street. Steele, a festival veteran, has penned hits including “What Hurts the Most” for Rascal Flatts and “The Cowboy in Me” for Tim McGraw.

Other anticipated festival highlights include group shows Thursday and Friday nights at the San Carlos Institute, a Cuban cultural center at 516 Duval St., and Tropic Cinema, a boutique cinema and theater at 416 Eaton St.

Title sponsored by Better Angels Music and presented by international performing rights organization BMI, the festival benefits the families of service members and wounded warriors through Operation Homefront.

Event information, schedule and ticketing:

Key West visitor information: or 1-800-LAST-KEY


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