Songwriters in Paradise, Songwriters in Paradise Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, Visit Cabo, Bahia Hotel, SUR Beach House

Songwriters in Paradise, Songwriters in Paradise Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, Visit Cabo, Bahia Hotel, SUR Beach House

The natural sea arch near Lovers Beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico | Photo by Efrain Alonso

High Tides and Good Times

Cabo Dreamin’ with Songwriters in Paradise

By Jordan Staggs | Photography by Zachary Sinclair, Grizzly Media

On a remote beach at the tip of the Mexican peninsula that separates the Sea of Cortez from the mighty Pacific Ocean, I walked along a spit of honey-colored sand between impressive rock formations the likes of which I had never seen.

I took in the view, standing clear of the crashing azure waves on the Pacific side. “You’re here from Florida; I don’t have to tell you not to get in the ocean today, but some people don’t get it!” our guide had said when warning us about the stronger-than-usual currents in the surf thanks to recent storms. Marveling at the locale and the array of fishing and leisure boats in the distance, it was still worth taking the water taxi across the bay from SUR to Lovers Beach. The chorus to Jimmy Buffett’s “Somethin’ ’Bout a Boat” played in my head—fittingly, considering the vista and the hundreds of vessels skimming about in the Bahía de Cabo San Lucas. It was also fitting because just two nights before, I had the privilege of hearing the song performed by one of its writers, Patrick Davis.

Davis, a Nashville-based musician, songwriter, and producer, is also the founder of Songwriters in Paradise. This small festival originated in Hope Town, the Bahamas, and now takes place annually in Cabo San Lucas, Napa, and Healdsburg, where Davis invites a curated group of his friends and fellow songwriters to perform at intimate venues for a crowd of about a hundred lucky patrons. During the SIP Cabo 2023 Welcome Party in the Sand on November 29, Davis and SUR owner Lee Vosburgh thanked guests while a gorgeous orange moon rose over the evening’s venue, SUR Beach House. Davis then took the stage with Tyler Reeve and Gabe Dixon to kick off the four-day festival.

Davis told a heartfelt story about his friend and colleague Jimmy Buffett before performing “Somethin’ ’Bout a Boat” in a sincere tribute—with several boats in the background as the gentle waves lapped at the shore. Guests dined on fresh seafood and incredible cocktails from SUR while Reeve and Dixon joined Davis in the round, taking turns playing songs and telling the stories of their origins. They also improvised with one another on the spot in the way that makes songwriter events such as these so special to those who witness them.

Improv night took on a new meaning, though, as the second round of SIP’s first night in Cabo paid Mother Nature her due and moved off the beach as high tide nearly reached the edge of the stage. For the safety of the equipment and performers, Lauren Jenkins, Chris Stills, and Marc Broussard moved their round up to the SUR patio for another handful of songs amid an intimate and enthusiastic crowd. A genuinely standout moment included Broussard’s rendition of “Cry to Me,” during which he was joined by Stills, Jenkins, and David Ryan Harris. Davis jokingly dubbed the impromptu rearrangement “The High Tide Sessions.”

From the beach to the stage to the bar, the camaraderie between these songwriters is palpable as they laugh, swap stories, and mingle with guests. That’s what makes SIP so special, says Davis (and everyone else we spoke to); it’s a chance for attendees to spend four whole days and nights with the performing songwriters in what SIP publicist Emily Ginsberg described as a “summer camp” type experience. Partner venues and hotels, like SUR and Bahia Hotel & Beach House (both owned by Vosburgh and partners), become the hub for activity and give ticketholders a chance to get to know the artists while giving the artists more time to spend with each other, as well. “We all play festivals around the world, but even if we’re playing at the same event, we’re not often on the same stage or coming and going at the same time, so we rarely see one another,” Davis explains. “SIP really started as an excuse to spend a vacation playing music and hanging out with friends, but it’s evolved into much more.”

“SIP really started as an excuse to spend a vacation playing music and hanging out with friends, but it’s evolved into much more.”

The songwriters and festivalgoers reveled in once-in-a-lifetime moments together, sipping margaritas and enjoying the incredible Cabo sunshine. Leah Blevins made her SIP stage debut on November 30, captivating the audience with her distinctive Southern belle’s voice and sweetness to match. Former VIE magazine cover star Ashley Campbell and her partner Thor Jensen, who recently moved to London together to enjoy playing the UK music circuit, regaled us with songs we hadn’t heard before and a rendition of “Gentle on My Mind” in honor of songwriter John Hartford and Ashley’s father, Glen Campbell. Chris Stills, the rock-and-roll legacy (son of Stephen Stills and French musician Véronique Sanson) and a SIP regular, lit up the SUR patio with an energetic rendition of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” with Campbell and Jensen accompanying. Americana singer-songwriter Lauren Jenkins, named an “Artist to Watch” by The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Pandora, and more, sang like a captivating siren beneath the rising moon.

Three spectacular evenings of performances at SUR were preceded by days spent exploring Cabo, chartering boat trips around the bay and surrounding area to see the famous rock formations on the peninsula, lounging on the beach and by the pool, and enjoying the fantastic relaxed Mexican atmosphere and cuisine at Bahia Hotel and its signature restaurant, Bar Esquina (if you go, don’t skip the wood-fired pizzas—trust me!), plus coffee, smoothies, and fresh pastries to go from the hotel’s on-site café.

Bahia Hotel and SUR Beach House have become integral parts of the SIP Cabo experience, and Davis and Vosburgh have fostered a lasting friendship while putting the festival on over the past seven years. The laid-back yet gorgeously luxe boutique property, once a private home converted to a small hotel, was completely remodeled and expanded by Vosburgh and his business partners from New York after they purchased it in 2007. Post-recession and many ups and downs later, they acquired and remodeled what is now SUR Beach House, giving the hotel what it lacked before—private beach access and a broader range of activities for guests. SUR and Bar Esquina have become popular destinations among other tourists and locals, as well. Talking about his staff prior to opening, Vosburgh referenced wanting to make Bar Esquina like Cheers—a friendly neighborhood hangout where everyone is welcome. He laughed that when they opened, the staff were excited that he finally got to do a “cheers” in celebration, and Vosburgh realized they were unfamiliar with the television series Cheers, so he showed it to them. He lives on the property with his wife and is quick to strike up a conversation, so be sure to say hello if you visit! After just a couple of days at Bahia for SIP, all the hotel and beach club staff and fellow guests truly started to feel like friends, and we were sad to leave.

The feeling seemed mutual among our fellow SIP attendees and the songwriters who had so graciously poured their hearts and souls out through music and storytelling—and tequila shots—for the past four days. Songwriter Marc Broussard enthusiastically proposed that “fifty-two weeks of SIP” would be a great idea, and we can’t help but agree.

The fun closed out on Saturday afternoon with a pool party listening event at Bahia Hotel. Guests took over the sun loungers, hot tub, and Bar Esquina poolside tiki hut as the SIP Cabo 2023 songwriters strummed and sang one last time in the round and together. Davis and Vosburgh once again thanked everyone involved for another fantastic experience, and the crowd applauded and raised their margaritas and cervezas in gratitude. While honoring all the memories and the journey it took to build SIP into what it is today, Davis toasted and urged listeners, “Remember the good, everybody.” We are certainly looking back and smiling about these good times with friends old and new.

— V —

If you’re ready to experience Songwriters in Paradise for yourself, snag your tickets fast for the fifth annual SIP Napa, coming up on April 18–21, 2024, and SIP Healdsburg on July 24–27, both featuring events at a host of incredible California wineries. Be on the lookout for announcements about SIP Cabo 2024 coming soon. Tickets and more information for all SIP events can be found at Follow along on Instagram @songwritersinparadise for more, and check out our VIE Speaks podcast with Patrick Davis on YouTube and all major podcast platforms. For hotel information or to book a stay, visit

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