Songwriters serve up Blast on the Bay

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The Blast On The Bay Songwriters Festival entered its second decade in fine fashion last weekend.

The 11th annual event, considered the premier music event in Gulf County, came to a close Sunday night at Indian Pass Raw Bar.

“The 2021 Blast on the Bay was a huge success,” said Lynn Marshall, one of the organizers. Hit country songwriters came from all over to headline the eight venues in Port St. Joe, St. Joe Beach, Windmark Beach and Indian Pass. Veteran songwriters Brett Jones, Earl Bud Lee, and Aaron Barker all let the crowd know that the people of Port St Joe are the best and that makes this festival  their favorite.

“Many of our writers who have fallen in love with Port St. Joe have bought property here and can’t wait to spend more time writing music in the area,” she said.

The event welcomed songwriters straight from the streets of Nashville, who have written hits for superstars like Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and George Strait.

“We all had an inspiration to bring good music and then when we had the opportunity to meet up with some people and to have the opportunity to bring these Nashville songwriters in, it just came together 13 years ago,” said co-creator, Steve Kerigan.

Tim Buppert, a singer-songwriter who has performed in the songwriters festival for 10 years, said it’s nice to meet new people away from the hustle and bustle of Nashville.

“We love playing the songs that we’ve written,” Buppert said. “In Nashville, there are songwriters everywhere doing it so it’s like ‘Oh you’re a songwriter? Yeah, so what.” so we have to go way out of town to places where people think we are a big deal.”

David Warriner co-created the event and said it is great for the city’s economy.

“Everybody benefits from it,” he said. “Financially it’s a nice boom. We have a lot of visitation here for this. People travel. I talked to somebody the other day who came from California to participate in this event so they come from all over.”

The event was canceled in 2018 and 2020 due to Hurricane Michael and the COVID-19 pandemic, and Warriner said it’s great to be back.

“Music is just an elixir for the soul and this is what we bring,” he said. “I don’t play the guitar and I don’t sing but they bring that talent to us and that’s what it does for this community.”

WMBB contributed to this report.

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