JUST PLAIN TALK: Looking back at the 30A Songwriter Festival

Buz Livingston
Buz Livingston

During the pits of the world’s worst economic calamity since the Great Depression, the Cultural Arts Association kicked off a music festival in South Walton. What a long, strange trip it’s been. Maybe rationale for the festival is it boosts the local economy during the shoulder (mythical) season, after/before summer. It works for me. Yes, tickets are expensive, but our birthdays are two weeks after Christmas. Financial planning tip, buy more experiences and less stuff.

Every year there is an unknown musician or group who blows me away. Sometimes people come once and hit the big time. Every year is an adventure. One year I was an intern replacement roadie for Farewell Angelina, dispatched to fetch drinks. I got stage fright from carrying the girls’ libations, but yoga breathing calmed the day. Last year I shared with Hays Carll that his song “Beaumont” could pass for a Guy Clark/William Shakespeare collaboration. He turned down my $20 tip then opened his set with it. The Bard’s sonnets endured for centuries; good music and stories don’t have expiration dates.

As a local, visitors should know we have exceptional musicians the other 51 weeks, too, every night of the week. People who pine for the bygone days forget while we had live music, but not eight days a week (wink). During the festival there are venues up and down the A with no wristband for admittance; don’t be a cheapskate, tip the band. To say we have vibrant local music is the height of understatement.

Visitors, be cool or be gone. As Duke Bardwell said leave us ya’ money and don’t let the door hit ya’ where the good Lord split ya.’ If it’s a listening venue, listen — nobody wants to know what you bought at the outlet mall. Buy some mud boots though, it might be wet. Don’t hit Bloody Marys early, you won’t make the late shows.

Our friends, The Saudis

As a journalist, by criticizing Saudi Arabia I take my life into my own hands, but I will smite them with righteous indignation using Conecuh pork sausage. Let’s have an understanding, Saudi Arabia is not our friend. Friends don’t use you when it’s convenient then dump on you.

Due to an oversupply of crude oil, gasoline prices have cratered. Less money spent on gas means more money for your 401K, to reduce debt or for discretionary consumption. Lower gas prices help Americans.

Saudi Arabia’s financial plan, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, requires $95 per barrel for crude oil up from around $60 today. To push prices higher, our friends (alleged) will slice exports, primarily to the United States by up to 800,000 barrels per day from November levels. Higher oil prices benefit Vladimir Putin, which should surprise no one and he’s no friend either.

You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help figure out what you need. For specific recommendations, visit or come by the office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.