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  • May 19, 2023

For three days and nights, the streets of Whitefish will come alive with the Whitefish Songwriter Festival. Six No. 1 hit songwriters and 18 rising stars songwriters will perform more than 30 shows in the restaurants, bars and theaters of downtown Whitefish. Shows will kick off Thursday, Sept. 15, and will run through Saturday evening, Sept. 17.

The inaugural festival in September 2021 was a smashing success, according to organizers. The festival entertained 1500 people over three days. This first-year festival gave music lovers and fans the chance to kick back and enjoy songwriting at its best.

“The Flathead Valley locals are no strangers to amazing talent, and this festival brought a new music experience by showcasing the art of songwriting,” says festival producer Cari Klepper.

This year’s hit songwriter line-up includes Hitmakers Chuck Cannon, Angela Kaset, Billy Montana and Helen Darling. Billy and Helen are the original artists behind the 911 song “Bring on the Rain” (recorded by Jo Dee Messina). Returning songwriters include Nashville Hall of Famer Kostas and hit songwriter James Dean Hicks. These songwriters combined have charted more than 20 No. 1 hits and hundreds of Billboard’s top hits for music icons like Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Jo Dee Messina, Leanne Womack, Conway Twitty, Blake Shelton, the Oak Ridge Boys, Travis Tritt, Sammy Kershaw, Laurie Morgan, Toby Keith, John Michael Montgomery, and many more.

For a second year, the festival is presented by Slow Burn Records, an independent purveyor of fine music in Whitefish.

“We are investing heavily in the local music community — from musicians to venue owners to music lovers,” Slow Burn Records owner Dyan Colby said. “Part record store and part creative hub, Slow Burn will be a place to gather and celebrate the transformative power of music — just one of the many reasons we’re honored to be the presenting sponsor for the Whitefish Songwriter Festival.”

Slow Burn Records will open in downtown Whitefish in 2022.

“Working with Slow Burn Records is a perfect fit for the festival, we both are 100% committed to music education in Whitefish, and we love great music,” says Klepper.

In 2021, the Whitefish Songwriter Festival, with the help of Slow Burn Records and other local sponsors and patrons was able to donate $5,000 to music education in Whitefish. Two of the organizations benefiting were the Whitefish Band Booster and the North Valley Music School.

“The Whitefish Songwriter Festival contribution will have a huge impact on our local music programs and could change the future of our young local musicians,” says band booster lead Tami Yunck.

Tickets are on sale now and the festival is expected to sell out. For tickets go to

The festival also has opportunities for aspiring songwriters with their Master Class for Songwriters that will be taught by hit songwriter Susan Gibson held Sept. 15-16. Sign up for this class at Park Side Credit Union is offering scholarships to all students.

The Whitefish Songwriter Festival is a production of the Rocky Mountain Songwriter Festivals, Inc. (RMSF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission to support music education in the local Whitefish community.

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