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New St. Petersburg songwriters festival taking shape with Matisyahu, Warren Brothers, more

The Downtown St. Petersburg Songwriters Festival is slowly rolling out venues and performers.
Matisyahu will perform a ticketed concert as part of the inaugural Downtown St. Petersburg Songwriters Festival. It'll take place on Nov. 2, 2019 at Jannus Live.
Matisyahu will perform a ticketed concert as part of the inaugural Downtown St. Petersburg Songwriters Festival. It'll take place on Nov. 2, 2019 at Jannus Live. [ Courtesy of Chris Townsend ]
Published Aug. 26, 2019
Updated Aug. 27, 2019

Three months after it was announced — and two months before it’s set to begin — the inaugural Downtown St. Petersburg Songwriters Festival is starting to take shape.

The first-year fest announced Friday that Matisyahu will be its first ticketed headliner, performing stripped-down versions of his songs on Nov. 2 at Jannus Live. Tickets are on sale now for $35 and up. Click here to get them.

Matisyahu joins more than 20 other acts who have already trickled out. While most are not household names — the emphasis, after all, being on the songwriters toiling behind the scenes — there are a few casual listeners might know. Among them: Pasco County country duo the Warren Brothers (Toby Keith’s Red Solo Cup, Keith Urban’s Little Bit of Everything), John Ford Coley (I’d Really Love to See You Tonight), Aaron Barker (George Strait’s Love Without End, Amen), and Striking Matches (who wrote several songs for the series Nashville). Jeff Cohen, Tim James, Lydia Luce, T. Hardy Morris and Jann Klose are also in the mix.

While the schedule is still in development, the festival has nearly a dozen venues lined up, from established spots like Jannus Live, Ruby’s Elixir and Ringside Cafe to bars and restaurants like Red Mesa Cantina, Park and Rec and MacDinton’s.

The Downtown St. Petersburg Songwriters Festival was created in a partnership with Cox Media Group and songwriters’ advocacy group BMI. The festival will feature around 100 acoustic performances, most of them free, around downtown St. Petersburg throughout the weekend.

Click here for details on the festival.