Seasoned songwriters, budding musicians, lovers of music and connection, this is for you! I am excited to announce the evolution of this amazing community which began 10 years ago in my Portland living room! You asked for it, you created it, now let’s get together and make it magical! Join us as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary and kickoff the first annual Songwriters Soiree Retreat! ~ Robin Jackson

NW Songwriters Soiree Retreat!

October 10-13
Stampfer Retreat Center, Olympia, WA

What began in 2009 as an inspiring monthly living room potluck, has turned into one of the largest communities of songwriters and lovers of music in the Pacific Northwest! This event is not a typical “songwriting retreat” that is just for songwriters. The Soiree is a place for anyone to enjoy the art and craft of songwriting, to learn music, and to enjoy community and connection! Think of it as a creative arts camp, where songwriting and sharing is the focus. And on top of that, there are many ways for non-songwriters (or budding songwriters) to participate creatively through our dynamic array of workshops and offerings.

We’re turning the magic of the monthly event into a 4 day concentrated experience. Please join us in a beautiful place making music with friends old and new!

Are you a registered participant? Please check out our retreat information page for all info for registered guests!


A message from your host!

What’s going to happen!

• Open Mic sharing
• Songwriting workshops
• Music and poetry workshops
• Community connection
• Yoga and dance
• Writing and reflection
• Singing and all night campfire jams
• Hiking and fun
• Delicious healthy food!

It’s impossible to walk away not feeling loved, supported, and inspired! I feel welcomed into a community that has lovingly altered the course of my entire life!
— Erin Chmela

About the retreat


What makes the soiree so special is the music, yes…and even more, it’s the PEOPLE! Our mission is to support songwriters of all skill levels and genres, create an inspiring and supportive experience, and provide a safe space where individuals can express themselves through music and storytelling.

Whether you are a songwriter yet or not, this event is for you! Yes, it’s a songwriting retreat. And it’s also a creative arts and community retreat! The retreat provides an opportunity to learn the craft of songwriting, to develop and expand musical skills, and to commune and share with others, yourself, and nature, in an intimate and connected way. 

The focus of the retreat is on the SHARING aspect vs a dedicated songwriting retreat centered around dozens of workshops on the craft. While we will definitely be offering AMAZING songwriting and music workshops, the main event is an open mic session each night wherein participants share songs they have written, or are working on...followed by all night campfire jams!

Also note that sharing a song or writing a song isn’t required at all. How you participate is up to you! Just listen, bring your presence, give feedback, relax, learn and enjoy!

All set in a location that provides an environment conducive to creativity, support and relaxation!

The songwriter soirée is music church for me. I’m inspired every time by the vulnerability musicians embody. Thank you, Robin for creating a cocoon that feels untouched by the outside world. Songwriter’s soirée is the medicine we all need right now!
— Uma T




This is the heart of the soiree. Each night we will gather together in an intentional and supportive space, to share original songs. Participants are encouraged to talk about the process!


We are over the moon excited to have some amazing regionally recognized and talented teachers, performers and mentors join us (Stay tuned for the full list!). We will be offering daily workshop choices in all aspects of songwriting including lyricism, arranging, storytelling, form, musicality and more! All levels.



Not a songwriter? Want to learn how to play the ukulele or guitar or just sing in a group? This retreat is for ANYONE who wants to be creative or just enjoy the community vibes. We will be offering workshops on circle singing, vocal improv, drumming, beginning guitar, ukulele, music performance, confidence and more!


Begin each day with an optional, inspiring led yoga class taught by one of our renowned teachers, and an ecstatic dance on Sunday!


Part of what makes the soiree unique is the safe, supportive and connected space we create. We will be taking some time to get to know each other (just like Summer camp!) and offer some fun, connecting activities to make the weekend even more awesome. Optional, yet encouraged!

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We came here to relax, right?! Take the time YOU need to unwind, be still and let inspiration find you. We will provide lots of free time and space for reflection, hiking and connection with other activities. The property offers tons of hiking trails, basketball, sports fields, and a beautiful lake!


We are stoked to be at the Stampfer Jewish Retreat Center, about 10 miles south of Olympia, WA. They are very open and encouraging to groups of all beliefs and backgrounds. The retreat center boasts 175 acres of wild wetlands, a lake and a gorgeous river! The meeting spaces are big, updated and aesthetically pleasing with space for yoga, dance and performing!


Accommodations are clean, comfy and easily accessible near the main lodges. Sleeping arrangements mainly consist of clean, cozy shared cabins (10 beds per room). We have a limited amount of smaller hotel style rooms which each contain a queen and 4 bunks. These can be rented for an additional cost for a family, group or solo. First come first serve so sign up now if you want one). Limited tent camping and RV parking is also available for privacy. Please inquire for more info when you register.

Guests must bring their own linens and blankets. Linens are available to rent for additional cost.

All food is included! Enjoy three nutritious and healthy home cooked meals a day, as well as 24 hour snacks, coffee, tea and other refreshments always available in the main lodge. The kitchen staff is friendly to all dietary needs including vegan, GF, Kosher, etc. And has different sections of the kitchen devoted to each! How awesome is that!

For more information on the facility please click here.

What you’ll take away from the weekend!

• Songwriting tools and tips
• Creative confidence
• New skills in music
• New friends and connections
• Magic
• Soothing time in nature
• A feeling of relaxation and peace
• A new song!

The soirée is the only gig in town that gives emerging artists the chance to share their music with a large captive audience. I’ve never met so many amazing people or been so inspired by other performers. It’s the kind of show that even well-established musicians rarely get to play—and it’s open to all. The room makes everyone feel like the star of MTV Unplugged!
— Chris Dugan


Check in is Thursday, OCT 10th between 4-7pm. Dinner is at 7pm followed by opening circle and orientation. We ask you be on site by 6:45pm at the latest. If you need to make arrangements for a late arrival please contact us.

Check out is Sunday, OCT 13th at 3:30pm after closing circle (guests asked to leave by 5pm).

You will immediately get more information on arrival/departure, schedule and accommodations after you register.

All information on the retreat including info on carpooling, schedule, community guidelines and more can now be found on our INFORMATION PAGE. Once you have registered please read all of this - Thanks!


We SO look forward to having you join us for this truly magical weekend! Your tuition includes all facilities, accommodations, workshops and food - Everything for just $389!

Due to the cost and value of the retreat, the ticket price could be much higher. However as this is our first event, we want to make it easier for more people to come, so enjoy this first year price! 

THE RETREAT IS SOLD OUT. To be put on the waitlist please CONTACT US. And we will be in touch if a spot opens up (which can happen). Thank you! Meanwhile please subscribe to our email list at the bottom of this page to be the first to know about our upcoming programs! Thanks!


Cancellation Policy: All payments are non-refundable. Exceptions may be made if someone on the waiting list or someone not already registered can take your spot. There will be a $25 admin fee applied for transfers. 

Help someone in need attend the retreat and make a donation to our scholarship fund.  All donations go directly to help someone in need attend! To make a donation please CLICK HERE


The organizers of the NW Songwriter Soiree Retreat recognizes that oppression is real and that some of us (white people) reap unequal benefits from a legacy of privilege. 

We believe that anytime people gather and hold space, it is a powerful opportunity to acknowledge and shift the ways oppressive systems harm and disconnect us from ourselves, from each other, and from the earth. We see it as a necessity in order for growth and transformation to take place.

We recognize that there are people in bodies which are marginalized. We aspire to co-create a space that is as safe as possible for all people, with the understanding that a fully safe space is impossible in our world. People of all races, sizes, ages, cultural backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, trauma backgrounds, and religions are welcome. Intentional words and actions that promote racism, misogyny, hatred, bigotry, supremacy, sizeism, transphobia, ageism, or divisiveness will not be tolerated and will constitute expulsion from the retreat. 

Our amazing arts team!

These are some of our amazing teachers and their offerings so far. More will be added soon, so stay tuned!


Robin Jackson, Retreat Director and Facilitator. An Award-winning songwriter, teacher, activist, and spirited impresario, Jackson has dedicated himself to creating connection through art and music.  He is the founder of the Songwriter Soiree, Director of Joy Now youth program, and performs and records internationally as a musician. In addition to directing the retreat, Robin will be leading a workshop on vocal improv and jamming! "A captivating song-crafter, a true storyteller." - NPR.


Matt Meighan, Songwriting instructor. Matt Meighan co-founded and directs the Hidden River Songwriting Camp and hosts an annual songwriting retreat in Donegal, Ireland. He has taught Songwriting as Truth-Telling classes in Portland since 2009. Matt's teaching encourages songwriters to express their own truth in their own authentic musical voice. He studied poetry at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado, where he earned an MFA in writing and poetics. Matt performs in Portland and around the Pacific Northwest and is currently recording his third album.

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Sara Tone has been teaching and performing music in the Portland area since 2005. She is a graduate of the The Evergreen State College and has taught a variety of classes to both kids and adults including Intro to West African Drumming and Community and Performance Choirs. Sara’s strengths are songs rooted in heartfelt messages about life and social justice. She is a consummate song crafter and expert of West African Drumming. She will be offering workshops on drumming as accompaniment, jamming and voice. Sara's intention as a teacher is to help build strong foundations in rhythm, voice, hearing and feeling music through awareness, technique, and JOY!!!


Blair Borax, Yoga Instructor. A dedicated and sincere practitioner, and a Yoga Bhoga-trained 500-hr RYT, Blair shares the practice of yoga as an offering for personal and collective, divine and radical, growth, healing and liberation. Inspired by growing food and making music, she often weaves song, chanting, and metaphors from the natural world into her classes. You can find her on instagram at @blairartthou to get to know her more and find her offerings!


Niema Lightseed, Poetry Workshop Instructor. Niema Lightseed is a priestess of the new paradigm dedicated to transforming oppression through embodiment education, linguistic analysis, art, and ritual. A healing artist since 2004, she writes, performs, and teaches medicinal poetry; offers creativity coaching; teaches about the convergence of liberation politics and somatic awareness; and seeks the marrow of life through a variety of meditative and creative disciplines. Niema will be offering workshops on poetry, writing and unlocking the words within!


Lewis Childs, Music and Songwriting Instructor. Lewis Childs is a songwriter, performer, educator and recording engineer based in Portland, Oregon. Born in Los Angeles, California he started playing electric guitar at the age of 13 and studied musical theater at Cuesta College, and vocal performance at the U of O school of Music. He has performed in all over the world and has taught workshops at educational institutions throughout the Pacific Northwest. His artistic collaborations include harmonica virtuoso Joe Powers, Márcio daLari (Brazilian Master of Percussion), Maggie Wheeler (actress and singer known for her work on the popular T.V. show "Friends”), Galen Clark (Trio Subtonic) and Robin Jackson (Singer-Songwriter and musician). Always learning, he is currently studying music production with Martin D. Fowler (composer & multi-instrumentalist who produces music for film, advertisements, & podcasts, and performs with the NYC based Arthur Moon). Lewis Child's most recent recording is called, "Grace.”He is offering a workshop entitled, “Hey Song, What do you Need?” This workshop looks at how each song can be viewed as an entity that has the power to teach us about ourselves and reach a community of people who can support one another. We will explore concepts of harmony, rhythm, lyric writing and the editorial process and touch on strategies for developing arrangements that serve the song in a variety of environments. “Oh the places you’ll go…” Open to all levels.


Jonathan Brinkley, Music and Songwriting Instructor. Jonathan is a singer, songwriter, and music teacher in Portland, Oregon and around the world. Often called “deeply moving” and “emotionally intelligent” by fans, he is known for a unique honesty and musicality that combine to take listeners on their own inner journey. A two-year commitment to writing a song every week has challenged and changed his own creative landscape and developed powerful tools in the process. Now, after three studio albums and many extended tours, he brings these tools to playful yet compelling workshops. His greatest hope is to inspire others to use their own gifts to change their lives.


Ali Boyce, Singing and Song Teacher. Ali Boyce is a singer, performer, multi-instrumentalist, community choir leader, songwriter, voice teacher, massage therapist, and yoga teacher. She has been performing on professional and ramshackle stages for the last 15 years. Her workshop ‘Embodied Singing’ combines yoga, mindfulness, and singing to allow the singer to explore a full-bodied free expression of their voice. She leads song circles in Portland and Milwaukie, and is a member of the Ubuntu choir network. She is deeply curious and passionate about the healing power of singing and the voice and how it relates to creative expression.

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Dawn “Zigzag” Montefusco has been writing poetry and songs since she was five. Today she is an award winning poet and transformational writing coach. She attracts people from around the world who are looking to breakthrough resistance and make an impact with their writing. She is the author of, Write Your True Story: Unleash Your Creativity, Share Your Message and Inspire the World, and a collection of poems, Stay With Me. Dawn graduated from NYU with a liberal arts degree and went on to achieve an MFA in creative writing from Eastern Washington University. She earned her Transformational Coaching Certification from Erickson College. She will be offering a workshop called, Closer to the Bone: Closer to the Bone: This class teaches how to write about your private world by pealing away barriers and emphasizing details to help you and your audience connect to universal truths.. She teaches how to get closer to the real you and develop your authentic voice to engage any audience. She will also be teaching a workshop called, Cultivating Confidence on the Spot to help writers breakthrough performance resistance.


A dedicated and passionate musician, Kathleen has been immersed in music since her childhood. Her unique path has allowed her to work with musical giants such as Phil Mattson, Dr. Edith Copley, Dr. Joshua Haberman, Fareed Haque, Michele Weir, John Medeski, Billy Martin, Martin Bejerano, Terence Blanchard, Danilo Perez, Gary Lindsay and Rhiannon. She is the current Vocal Music Director at Clackamas Community College, founder/director of the Music Performance and Technology Program and founded Renegade Gospel which grew from the Playa Choir, a 70-voice ensemble that performs at Burning Man every summer. She has released two acclaimed original albums that span genres of Americana, singer-songwriter, jazz, funk and original soul. Most recently, her album ISH has been on the RMR jazz charts for over 3 weeks, peaking at number 10.

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