The recently concluded 2022 Key West Songwriters Festival was yet another islandwide hit for fans and musicians alike.

Since 1997, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and BMI have brought Music Row to Duval Street and beyond, creating a unique environment where industry professionals, songwriters, locals and tourists can experience the best of Nashville in the most intimate of venues.

The festival featured more than 50 live performances by the songwriters behind some of the biggest country hits of the past decade. More than 30 of the shows were free to the public and held at local bars, restaurants, hotels and outdoor, island venues. 

On May 6, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association sponsored a private event at The Reach Resort to welcome local government leaders as well representatives from the tourism, hospitality and restaurant industries.

“The festival has become a breeding ground for new talent and has become one of the most sought-after invites within the Nashville songwriting community,” states the festival website. “Notable alumni of the festival include Kacey Musgraves, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Combs, Maren Morris and Cole Swindell.”

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.