May 02, 2022

Part I:

A new COAST Projects collaboration is in the works — and while you could say this one was born directly out of the COAST Is Clear Festival weekend this past December, in my head it started a few years back, so let’s begin there.

It was probably early-2019, and I was screen printing shirts on the front porch at COAST like I often do.

Drop the screen, drag the paint, flood it back, quick fold, then set on the ledge to my left where the sun has just peeked over the roof to dry the ink quickly — repeat.

The window to my right is open and a speaker straddles the sill — songs whistle from inside the shop and breeze past me onto Whitehead Street where tourists bustle by in search of Hemingway’s house just one block away. They sometimes stop, gawking at the archaic t-shirt-printing-machine that is magically putting painted designs onto otherwise blank t-shirts.

I pay no attention — lost somewhere in the moment.

Then, on that particular day, a song came on that hit me like few ever do at first listen.

It was…

Sunday, Mar 13, 2022

Join us on Sunday March 13th, when Yonder Mountain String Band returns to Key West for a good old-fashioned hootenanny at Fort East Martello in support of their latest album Get Yourself Outside.

This show offers a VIP section with limited, preferred seating and GA lawn seating and is part of the COAST Is Clear Concert Series, a co-production of COAST Projects & Key West Art & Historical Society.

Fireside Collective will open the show.

Sunday, Feb 27, 2022

Join us on February 27 at Fort East Martello for a family-friendly evening of laid back music and good times with singer/songwriter/surfer Donavon Frankenreiter.

This show is part of the COAST Is Clear Concert Series, a co-production of COAST Projects & Key West Art & Historical Society.

Children 12 & under are free of charge, but must be registered.

Jan 22, 2022 - Jan 23, 2022

​We’re back at it.

Our rip-roaring festival just wrapped and we’re looking to bring you more of the best shows on the island, so join us this winter and spring as we bring back some of our favorite artists to the island while we build our amazing partnership with Key West Art & Historical Society. Monthly shows for the next few months will take place at Fort East Martello, and once we get back into the heat and rains of the summer, we’ll start planning for COAST Is Clear 2022.
We’ll see you all out there!

Poster Illustrations by: handshucked

December 06, 2021

Well, we had our hopes high, and we waited a long time for this — and like all good things, it was totally worth the wait.
What an amazing weekend. Huge thanks to the artists, fans, volunteers, production crews, vendors and sponsors for making it what it was.
We’ll do it again next year.
For now, we’ll just let this film that the crew at Sugarshack put together do the talking…

Dec 03, 2021 - Dec 05, 2021

In a time of global unrest and uncertainty, it’s often best to take a step back to find respite in the simple pleasures of life.

A weekend in the sun surrounded by close compadres — or simply folks you’ve only just met because of a shared love of music and art — can, at the very least, provide a temporary feeling that things might just be okay when whatever it is that we’ve all collectively endured is finally behind us.

And, at its core, that’s what COAST Is Clear is really all about.

From the start, it has been a time and place to celebrate the end of a difficult stretch — for us, it’s that six-month period we in the tropics call Hurricane Season, that officially ends each year on December 1 — when, quite literally, the “coast is clear”.

We started this festival in 2017, just months after Hurricane Irma ravaged the Lower Keys. That year, a few musician friends of ours agreed to come down to lend a hand and lift spirits by doing what they do best. And since then, we’ve committed to bringing down top-notch, nationally-acclaimed bands, paired…

March 24, 2021

If I have one regret from growing up, it’s that I focused so much time and attention on competitive sports. These days, aside from putting up decent numbers during my Tuesday night coed softball games — and being able to throw batting practice to Kristian and his team without being laid up for a week — sports haven’t really offered me anything noteworthy since college.

This is a roundabout way of saying I wish I had spent more time focused on activities that I could still be enjoying today — making music is the prime example.

Those of you who know me, know that, while I can’t really play a lick, music is still a big part of my life. I’m not saying it’s too late for me to start playing, but at this point my main involvement with music has been on the “appreciation” side of the equation. I’ve done this — through COAST over the last decade — by pioneering the ticketed live music scene in Key West. Prior to our first concerts on Stock Island back in 2013/14, there was essentially no ticketed live music on the island, save for an occasional throwback concert, an…

October 28, 2020

By Billy Kearins

By this time next week — due to mail-in ballot counting and state contests that are too close to call — we may not know exactly who will be the next leader of the free world. But here in Key West, we’ll likely know the outcome of the contentious local cruise ship referendum.

Really quickly — especially for the non-local folks out there — three questions have been posed to voters on the island which essentially ask citizens whether or not they want to continue to allow larger cruise ships into port. The idea was conceived and eventually formalized into ballot questions during the COVID lockdown this spring/summer after roughly 2500 locals signed a petition in support of limiting the amount of ships allowed to bring passengers into one of three cruise ship docks in the harbor. This side of the debate would ultimately become the “yes” vote — though considering there are three questions, it is, more specifically, the “yes, yes, yes” vote.

At the heart of the debate, and the big concern from the opposing side — the “no” vote — is how this will (negatively) affect local businesses, especially those in…

Friday, Mar 27, 2020 @ Doors @ 7:00pm

UPDATE: Concert cancelled due to coronavirus precautions.

We are excited to introduce a new and exciting collaboration between the COAST Crew and Key West Art & Historical Society. Our goal moving forward is to team up and bring top-notch, relevant musical acts to the beautifully historic venues KWAHS operates across the island.To start, we are bringing back our good friend Mason Jennings who first visited us on Stock Island in 2015. That show sold out quickly, so get your tickets early — they go on sale this Friday, 1/24 at noon through the KWAHS website.

To further incentivize, early sales, tickets will be discounted for the first week — $25 with no fees until Friday, 1/31 — limited to the first 100.

From there, tickets will bump to $30 plus fees and then on week of the show, they will increase to $40 plus fees.

So make your plans, bring the kids — they’re free — and join us for an amazing night of music at the historic Fort East Martello Museum.

Event Details:

Date: Friday, March 27, 2020

Location: Fort East Martello, 3501 South Roosevelt Boulevard


Dec 05, 2019 - Dec 07, 2019 @ Bahama Village

Join us for the third annual COAST Is Clear Music & Arts Festival this December 5-7 in Bahama Village, Key West.

We started this festival two years ago to celebrate the official ending of a particularly difficult hurricane season down here just months after Irma tore through the Lower Keys. Then, the main goal was, and still is now, to get the community together at a time of year when things really start to change on the island. Beyond surviving the sweltering summer heat, storm season and the tumbleweeds of the slow fall months we want to acknowledge and appreciate the arrival of the first cold fronts and the opening of high season.

This year we’ll welcome back Rayland Baxter — now with his full band — as well as one of Charleston’s biggest current acts, SUSTO, who will be playing solo as well as collaboratively with other bands. We’ll also be graced by Tim Reynolds, the lead guitarist virtuoso for Dave Matthews Band, when he passes through for his annual stop at Green Parrot.

We’re also excited to have another great band at Green Parrot, Voodoo Visionary, as well as fellow southerners and spacefolk…

October 02, 2019

It’s been more than five years since we hosted our first show at the original COAST shop on Stock Island. We built the stage by hand the night before the Hackensaw Boys took to it. The show that followed — a wild, ground stomping, hootenanny changed the course for us at COAST.

As the dust settled, so did we — on our mission to bring new and relevant live music to the end of the road. Since then, we’ve hosted dozens of amazing concerts with world-class artists at venues — large and small — from the other side of the tracks in Stock Island to the tip of Sunset Pier in the heart of Old Town.

We don’t do it for the money. If a show sells out, the money from ticket sales scarcely covers the artist’s fee and production expenses — stage, sound, lights, etc.

It’s a lot for us and the pay off has nothing to do with a pay day. We do it because we love it. We do it because we feel a responsibility to our community and to those within it who have supported these shows from the first to the latest.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019 @ Gates at 7:00pm

We’re stoked to welcome our good buddy G. Love back to the island for his annual Beachside Blues Tour of Florida.

This time, we’ll host it right on Southernmost Beach — quite literally the “coast” of Key West — so come join us for a night of music and dancing in the sand and under the stars. The night will kick off with Florida’s own dynamic duo, The Ries Brothers at 8:00pm and G. Love will hit the stage at 9:15pm.

This is a ticketed event and gates will open at 7:00pm sharp.

Hope to see you all there!

Poster Illustrations by: handshucked

April 03, 2019

​He’s been our shop boy, product tester, photo model, skate rat, and all-around cool kid from the very start of COAST.

And today the one and only Kristian turns 11 — successfully completing his first decade on this planet.

He first stepped onto a skateboard when he was three years-old on the mean streets of Copenhagen, and he took to it immediately. In the beginning, he’d ride boards I’d make for him — small, flat boards reminiscent of 1970s surf-style cruisers. I told him he needed to learn to ride around the neighborhood before he could try any tricks, so in short order he became fluid on the little board, weaving on and off the sidewalk, bombing hills and developing a style all his own.

When we moved to Key West, he was eager to take advantage of riding in the nice weather. But at that time, we were spending a lot of time on Stock Island where the streets were pretty beat up, so he asked for a mini ramp at the old COAST shop on Front Street.

Well, that seemed like a good project for our crew of washed-up skaters (with a shop full…

Sunday, Feb 17, 2019

Yonder Mountain String Band, the internationally acclaimed Colorado-based bluegrass jam band, rolled into town last year to play what their diehard fans recounted as the smallest venue they’ve seen them play since their early days in the late 1990s. And now they’re headed back down the mountain to COAST on Stock Island, again, for one night only on February 17.

Says COAST founder Billy Kearins, “I honestly never know what to expect when these big bands pull up to our funky little boatyard on Stock Island on a huge tour bus — especially when they are coming off of playing big, professional theaters in major cities all around the country. I get the sense that there’s this moment when everyone looks to the manager as if to say ‘what on Earth did you sign us up for.’” Adding, “But usually they quickly realize they are in Key West, the weather is perfect and the vibes are good — and by the end of the night they don’t want to get off stage. But the best reward is when they ask if they can come down to play again.”

Last year Yonder Mountain’s first ever show in Key West…

January 01, 2019


As we enter the new year and start a new chapter in the COAST story, we are looking to expand our retail and online efforts at The COAST Outpost in Old Town while we explore new options for studio and venue space on Stock Island.

Considering this, we are looking for one full-time employee (or a couple part-time employees) to help manage daily operations at 803 Whitehead Street.

Duties & Skills Required Include:

- Opening and closing the shop in a timely manner. The shop is open daily 10am-5pm.
- Organizing and merchandising products and inventory in a creative and effective manner.
- Keeping track of inventory and ordering goods from our factories and vendors.
- Receiving and stocking new inventory.
- Interacting with and selling to customers — both locals and tourists alike — in a brand-appropriate manner.
- Organizing, packing and shipping web orders.
- Helping with social media and other promotional efforts.
- Creating and updating spreadsheets for inventory, concert tickets sales, etc.
- Handling customer service emails and inquiries on a daily basis.
- Maintaining and keeping the shop tidy…

Dec 12, 2018 - Dec 12, 2019

By Billy Kearins

This Saturday, December 15th — six years to the day after we officially took over a ragged boatyard on the wrong side of the tracks in Stock Island, with absolutely no plan and a sack full of dreams — we’ll host our final, farewell concert at the space. Fittingly it will be with Nashville songwriter Rayland Baxter, a fellow weirdo who became a good friend of mine a few years back because of that very space.

Two weeks after Saturday’s show, we’ll be a displaced band of artists and adventurers.

The place our crew has called home for the better part of the last decade, 6404 Front Street, and the spot where we worked to make that bag full of dreams come true will no longer be ours.

We were unable to come to an agreement for a long term lease at the current space and this month was the deadline. And while the timing seems particularly challenging, I’m not sure there would have ever been a great time to leave that space. Truth is, sometimes we hang onto things because they are comfortable, not because they are…

December 12, 2018

By Billy Kearins

This Saturday, December 15th — six years to the day after we officially took over a ragged boatyard on the wrong side of the tracks in Stock Island, with absolutely no plan and a sack full of dreams — we’ll host our final, farewell concert at the space. Fittingly it will be with Nashville songwriter Rayland Baxter, a fellow weirdo who became a good friend of mine a few years back because of that very space.

Two weeks after Saturday’s show, we’ll be a displaced band of artists and adventurers.

The place our crew has called home for the better part of the last decade, 6404 Front Street, and the spot where we worked to make that bag full of dreams come true will no longer be ours.

We were unable to come to an agreement for a long term lease at the current space and this month was the deadline. And while the timing seems particularly challenging, I’m not sure there would have ever been a great time to leave that space. Truth is, sometimes we hang onto things because they are comfortable, not because they are…

December 06, 2018

It’s just past midnight and I’m now a 40-year-old man.

If you go by the stats, I’m starting the second half of my life right now.

But I’ve never been one for stats and measurements. I’d rather eyeball cuts and use my guts.

Fifteen years ago, I’d have looked at those life expectancy charts and laughed. Then said “I’ll live to be a hundred” as I drank another beer on the way out for another night on the town.

But seemingly overnight — and most definitely out of nowhere — reality came knocking and through a series of both tragic and also incredibly amazing events, I became aware that life can be fleeting but it’s also something to behold.

In the fall of 2006, a freak infection attacked my heart valves while I was building a boat in the Caribbean. I was saved only by an emergency med flight from St. Croix to Mass General Hospital, a last-minute open heart surgery on Thanksgiving Day, and the love of those surrounding me.

After months of recovery, I headed south back to Key West to pretty much gather my belongings and start a new chapter. I quit the late nights, simplified my…

June 13, 2018

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

Twenty six hundred eighty five point four miles separate Key West, Florida and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Another ninety two point ninety six million miles separate those charming little hamlets from the jumbo orb of spurting, belching gas and flames we call Senor Sun.

Along with the yawning distance between the remote settlements, there are other disparities. Elevation, for instance. Key West is but nine feet above sea level. That’s not much. And it often becomes apparent come June through September hurricane season, when backstroking can become a necessary pastime. Nestled amid the aptly named Grand Tetons, JHole stands a majestic, near-celestial 6000 ft. above sea level. No tsunami concerns there.

Then, of course there is the matter of snow. Regarded with deep reverence in the ski Mecca, snow generously is issued in powdery shrouds averaging some 12 ft. annually. None of it goes to waste, either, as rippers and gapers from around the planet descend on the toney outpost to cut and run the myriad manicured trails that line the towering terra. Snow in Key West? Flake one has yet to arrive. Not bloody likely to, either.

May 10, 2018 - May 11, 2018 @ Doors @ 7:30pm

On May 10, we welcome back our buddy G. Love to COAST for an evening of boatyard and beachside blues. The concert is part of G. Love’s annual swing through the Sunshine State and this particular show is the smallest of the entire tour. Local favorites, The Skank and national touring artist Kristy Lee will open the night.

This is a one-night-only show and G’s shows always sell out quickly, so grab tickets while you can!

Doors open at 7:30pm with opening acts to follow.


April 16, 2018

​For a few months — before and after Irma — we were on-site at the newly renovated 24 North Hotel doing everything from building stages and swings to maneuvering Cuban chug boats and scaling six story walls to paint one of a number of large-scale murals on the pristine property.

Keeping the hotel’s solid branding in line, our pieces offered a mix of Key West contemporary and historic Habana complete with literary references, vibrant colors, graphic patterns and reclaimed wood constructions.

The final product is a full scale installation that flows from the lobby to the pool bar and beyond and helps to tell the story of the imaginary line that floats in the Gulf Stream between The Florida Keys and the island of Cuba — just 90 miles away.

April 11, 2018

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

She had a ventriloquist dummy perched like a parrot on her shoulder. And it looked a little like her. Actually, a lot like her. Smoother complexion. And a bit more rigid. But the similarity was undeniable.

Otherwise, there was nothing particularly unusual about the cross-eyed blonde who moseyed into COAST digs on Whitehead Street the other day.

She seemed to relish the attention her little ringer commanded. And when the focus reached a peak, the mannequin’s head turned and the mouth moved.

“What are you guys looking at?” the synthetic little chick seemed to bark. ‘What?”


The crack immediately triggered raised eyebrows and startled yuks. The desired effect had been achieved. And the woman introduced her “sister,” Ginger.

There is no shortage of such interesting characters who find their way onto our Bahama Village premises. And it’s always a treat checking out the mix of nationalities and personalities that find their way to Mile Marker 0 for a taste of paradise.

For the most part, they are a curious bunch, draped in their idea of subtropical cruise wear while spouting queries regarding the island, its…

February 14, 2018

​Over the past few months we’ve had the pleasure of hosting Diane Barthelemy as an artist in residence out at the boatyard on Stock Island. Originally from Brittany (Breton) in the Northwesternmost coastal region of France, Diane spent most of her formative years in the port city of Bordeaux in southwest France before moving to Brooklyn to pursue a full-time career as an artist in 2016.

While here, Diane has focused largely on her impressive and distinctive large-scale abstract paintings — her stroke is unmistakably confident. By day you can find her spread out on the deck of the COAST stage with canvases the size of roof tarps and cans of acrylic paint with a jar full of brushes at her feet. Always smiling, usually covered in paint, and generally laughing with her distinctive raspy giggle, Barthelemy has made an imprint not only on those who surround her on our Stock Island property, but she has come to find her place in the Key West community as a whole.

By morning or towards sunset, you can usually find her roaming the back streets and side alleys of Old Town on a 70s Schwinn bicycle — blue and red,…

February 14, 2018

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

As yours truly continues to explore the wonder years (that magical time triggered by the Big FiveOh), It becomes increasing apparent I am placing limitations on unnecessary physical exertion.
Some of it is subconscious. Sort of a survival instinct. Some is intentional.

For instance, just the other day, en route to part-time work as demonic exorcist to the stars, I tossed some trash into a local dumpster and inadvertently let slip a ziplock bag I had packed for lunch.

It contained a disappointing tangle of linguini and meatballs I’d prepared the previous night. And although the sloppy repast wasn’t exactly three-star, it still was edible and would serve to eliminate the expense and inconvenience of ordering to-go grub. Which isn’t always easy in the exorcism biz.

Demons are not amenable to lunch breaks, quiet time or accordion recitals. And so much more, for that matter.

After requisite I-can’t-believe-I-did-that cussing, spitting, head-shaking, eye-rolling and foot-stomping, I stared deeply into the stinking dumpster abyss and realized considerable acrobatic skill would be required to retrieve that packet of pasta and piquant orbs.

In more youthful years, I may…

January 24, 2018

By Mark Faris “The Coast Bard”

Soon it will be a month since Christmas 2017 became yet another Christmas Past.

Time tangos by so very quickly.

Nevertheless, my take on the annual festivities continues. I just can’t help myself. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when it occurred to me there might not be an actual Santa Claus. Most likely, it was in my mid-to-late thirties. In that vicinity. Although the era does remain a bit blurry. And mysterious. Due, perhaps, to a numbing dose of coconut tree trauma.

Surprisingly, the revelation wasn’t quite as distressing as I would have imagined.

There was no need for specialized counseling. Nor heavy sessions of electroshock therapy. Although I did consider - albeit briefly - becoming a ventriloquist. (I simply could not find a partner willing to take turns being the dummy.) Considering the enormity of Santa Claus in my life, particularly during those early formative years - 1 to 35 - it seemed the demise of such a merry, old soul would be thoroughly and irrevocably traumatic. But, as heard tell ‘round a campfire - often featuring the faint aroma of performing seals -…

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