Residency at Beluthahatchee Park

Jacksonville Songwriter Residency Announces Historic New Residency at Beluthahatchee Park

The Jacksonville Songwriter Residency is excited to announce a new historic Songwriter Residency for 2016. This new project will be a partnership with the Stetson Kennedy Foundation and St. Johns County Recreation and Parks Department. This historic songwriter residency program will take place at Beluthahatchee Park located at 1523 SR 13N, St. Johns FL 32259, which was funded in part by a Florida Community Trust Florida Forever Grant in partnership with St. Johns County, FL. FCT is presently The Florida Department of Environmental Protection Florida Communities Trust. The program will be on the same site that has been designated a Historic Literary landmark twice. First, for songwriter Woody Guthrie, where he wrote over 80 songs and the manuscript to his autobiography “Seeds of Man.” Secondly, the site was also home to the civil rights activist Stetson Kennedy; Kennedy was the author of “Palmetto Country”, “Southern Exposure”, and “The Klan Unmasked.” It was Stetson Kennedy’s wish that the site would remain a refuge for artists and wildlife.

Woody and Stetson formed a lifelong friendship and artistic kinship. Woody famously wrote Stetson a letter after reading Kennedy’s “Palmetto Country.” Woody ripped out the front page of the book and wrote to him saying that he would come and visit. Shortly after, Woody arrived at the train station in Jacksonville with nothing, but the clothes on his back. Woody also wrote the theme song for Kennedy’s senate run. Stetson invited other artists to experience Beluthahatchee here in St. Johns County, Florida. Beluthahatchee is an inspiring natural preserve that is now open to motivate a new generation of songwriters.

Professional songwriters who would like to participate in this unique opportunity are encouraged to apply through our website or email Songwriters are then nominated by the Songwriter Residency and invited by the Stetson Kennedy Foundation to experience Beluthahatchee as it is for one week. During their stay they will perform a showcase somewhere in the proximity of Beluthahatchee.

The Jacksonville Songwriter Residency was founded in 2013 by songwriter Brad Lauretti of This Frontier Needs Heroes. The project was awarded one of the inaugural Spark Grants by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville to bring songwriters to downtown Jacksonville’s “Spark District.” The program was very successful in its first year partnering with the Omni Hotel. Songwriters would stay for a week and take time from their busy schedules to write. They absorbed the local music scene and the vibrancy of downtown Jacksonville. Songwriters included Jessica Larrabee of She Keeps Bees, David Dondero, Woody Pines, Scott Low, Sean Spellman of Quiet Life, and Amythyst Kiah. Afterwards they were all invited to showcase their work. Other partnerships emerged such as Gram Parsons Guitar Pull Songwriting Contest sponsored by the St. Johns Riverkeeper, and showcases which were located at the Omni Hotel, Hemming Park, Florida Theater, and the Cummer Museum.

Donations are now being accepted until January 11, 2016 at

Any questions about the Jacksonville Songwriter Residency please contact:

Brad Lauretti


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