REO Songwriters Retreat
July 2020

Our 21st Annual: Invitational Songwriters Retreat

Songwriting Retreat

Enjoy an intimate songwriting retreat in the beautiful Canadian wilderness. Daily master classes for beginner to professional songwriters, co-writing sessions, advanced songwriting techniques and nightly performances.  Delicious meals, social hours, guided canyon hike, hot tub & private beach at the river's edge.
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 2019 Songwriting Mentors

Marty Dodson  

Marty Dodson

“Growing up in a recording and song center can be intimidating!” says professional songwriter and Nashville native Marty Dodson. “We moved to Nashville when I was five years old, I remember that it seemed like everyone who ever worked on our air conditioner or waited on us at a restaurant was trying to get into the music business.” After earning a Psychology degree, Marty worked as a youth minister for several churches in Nashville. Songwriting was just a dream until he ran into his father’s friend Gordon Payne, songwriter and lead singer for The Crickets. When Marty said that he wrote for fun, Gordon asked to hear his songs. “Weekend Cowboy” caught Gordon’s ear, and he saw Marty’s potential. Gordon helped Marty “commercialize” and demo the song, and set him up with other co-writers. This led Marty to a 5-year writing deal with Sony Music. While writing at Kim Williams Music, Marty co-wrote his first top ten single – Rascal Flatts’ hit “While You Loved Me.”

Since then Marty has had cuts by artists such as Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Emerson Drive, Julianne Hough, Bucky Covington, Joe Cocker, Johnny Reid and Darryl Worley. Marty’s smash by Billy Currington, “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right,” spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country Charts. His Kenny Chesney single “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven” entered the Country Chart at # 22 and spent two weeks at #1 as well. “Let Me Down Easy”, became Marty’s 3rd #1 single in 2011. Marty has current cuts on, The Plain White T’s, Saving Jane, Joe Cocker, Dierks Bentley, Rory+Joey and Charlie Worsham.

Jason Duke

A graduate of the ASCAP Guidance from Publishers for Songwriters Project (GPS) and a Tennessee native, Duke co-wrote the chart-topping, Platinum-certified hit “Dibs,” featured on Kelsea Ballerini’s album The First Time, “That Could Still Be Us” on Keith Urban’s Platinum-certified album RipCORD, and the Chris Bandi single “Man Enough Now,” which has received over 50 million streams on Spotify alone. Duke currently writes at BMG Nashville. 

Our New Retreat Center

REO's new retreat center overlooks the jade-green Nahatlatch River and offers amazing canyon, forest and mountain views. The retreat center features a 2,000 sf covered events space and 10 adjacent glamping tents, all with river's edge decks.

Two Courses: The Basics & Advanced

This year, Marty and Clay are going to be offering two different tracks to follow at our songwriting retreat.  The Songwriting 101 Track will be for beginning writers or writers who just want a refresher course on the fundamentals of creating a compelling song.  The Songwriting 301 track will be fairly advanced.  This track will dive deeper into the topic of the day and we'll move along at a faster pace so that we can cover more ground.  Think of the 301 track as SongTown Crash courses on fast forward.   There will be no writer left behind!  Whatever level you are at, you'll find something to challenge you to write your best song!

SongWriting 101 - (Basics)
Day 1 - Basics of Lyric Writing
Day 2 - Basics of Melody Writing
Day 3 - Basics of writing to a track
Day 4 - Basics of writing for an artist

Songwriting 301 - (Advanced)
Day 1 - Advanced Track Writing (guided writes)
Day 2 - Advanced Writing With and For An Artist
Day 3 - Writing For Sync (Supervisor Skypes In)
Day 4 - Working With A Publisher (Publishers Skype in)



Absolutely Incredible and Inspiring Experience! ★★★★★
“I can't say enough about how amazing the songwriting retreat was at REO. So much talent and creativity. Fantastic people creating together everyday in the most gorgeous setting you could imagine!”

All-Inclusive Songwriting Retreat Package

  • Daily workshops & master classes for advanced songwriters
  • Low instructor-to-student ratio enhances intimacy & learning
  • Intensive co-writing sessions with songwriters and artists under the auspices of our hit writers & mentors
  • Get important feedback and learn from others in our semi-private critique session with your choice of one mentor
  • Skype 1-on-1 call with SongTown co-founder Clay Mills
  • Special writing to tracks & syncs with mentored critiques
  • Daily social hour with wine, craft cider & beer, appetizers
  • Guided canyon hike, nature trails, private beach
  • Discounted whitewater rafting trip - the ultimate!
  • 5 nights camping or upgrade to REO glamping tents
  • 14 delicious meals, beverages & snacks. Vegan & GF options.
Canadians: Information on Factor Funding   Canadian Songwriters: Apply for Factor Funding


1 Person in 4-share Glamping Tent


Camping/RV - Limited availability

 $1195 Call for booking code


Spouse/Partner/Friend (non-songwriter)


Retreat Contact: Bryan Fogelman

Call 604-307-3122 or email Bryan
For Reservations: 1-800-736-7238


Lodging Upgrades (Add-on):

1 person in Private Glamping Tent

Sale Rate
 $550 - Double or Queen-sized bed

2 people Private Glamping Tent

Sale Rate
$250 per person - Double or Queen-sized bed

1 person in Private Luxe King Tent

Sale Rate
 $750 - King-sized bed, luxe decor

2 People in Private Luxe King Tent

Sale Rate
 $300 per person - King-sized bed, luxe decor


Whitewater Rafting


Shuttle From Vancouver to REO

Depart YVR @ 12:30 pm, arrive 4 pm

Shuttle From REO to Vancouver

Depart REO @ 9:15 am, arrive 1:30 pm

All prices are per person (PP). Add 10% taxes & fees. USD prices based on current exchange rates. Trip locations may change due to water levels.
Questions? Call 604.941.9777 or 1.800.736.7238 or email bookings | Cancellation Policy


Email now to book


Sponsored Artists

Bo Henrik

A new artist from Sweden who’s music is best described as European-influenced pop music with modern flavours of  Frank Ocean, Chance The Rapper and John Mayer. Henrik's musical journey started at age 3 with violin lessons. This led him to guitar, drums, singing and dancing. During his teen years, Henrik's performances would blend the different arts: guitar, song, dancing and gymnastics.

Henrik performed and choreographed a show with one of Sweden's best symphony orchestras dancing and singing Michael Jackson's “They Don’t Care About Us”. He also performed in Stravinsky's Firebird and starred in the musical FAME. Henrik is now writing and producing songs for his debut EP as a solo artist.  The last 2 years Bo has been writing and producing songs with songwriters and producers at different labels in Vancouver, Los Angeles and all over Sweden. He most recently worked on multiplatinum selling local Swedish artist Nineb Youk’s EP, both as a featured artist and as an instrumentalist/writer behind the scenes together with producers William Fredrickson and Tiam Farokhy Nia of TMA.


North Easton

An accomplished performer and award-winning Canadian songwriter with a passion for evocative, thought- provoking lyrics and melodies. Born on Vancouver Island, the youngest of three boys, North started writing songs as an escape from his brothers with his mother (his inspiration) forbidding the older boys to pick on him when he practised piano. It’s no surprise that North traded great grades for blisters and early music accomplishments: winner of 106.9 The Bear’s Rock Search; $100,000 in NEWCAP Radio’s Big Money Shot & Indie Pop Album of The Year with his band Garrity.

More recently, North is the winner of the 2016 UK Songwriting Contest; winner of the 2016 International Songwriting Competition and 2015 Finalist of International Songwriting Competition. North’s songs have also been featured in independent films and placed in US syndicated television.
North is a major contributor to the Ottawa song-writing community as co-coordinator for the Songwriter’s Association of Canada; founding member and one of 8 prominent songwriters in the Collabor8tors song-writing initiative; Ottawa Curator for The Acoustic Guitar Project.


Check out these pictures from previous songwriting retreats

Retreat Information

Airport Shuttle

Vancouver International (YVR) is the best gateway for flights.  REO offers an optional shuttle departure from YVR airport at 12:30 PM on Sunday July 28.

Car Share Rides / Rentals

We can help arrange car share rides with other songwriters. If you are not flying into Vancouver (YVR), you will need to rent a car.

Retreat Start Time

Please arrive at REO between 4 and 6 pm on Sunday July 28. Our first social hour begins at 6 pm with craft, beer and cider, BC wine and appetizers. All meals are included in your retreat package from Sunday dinner to Friday breakfast.

Departure Date

Our shuttle to Vancouver leaves at 9:15 am; we recommend flight departures after 3:30 pm.  The official check-out time is 11 am unless you decide to add-on an adventure or extra night.


Pre and Post Retreat Extensions

A pre-retreat extension is popular, especially international songwriters who choose to add a day or two at the river prior to the start of the retreat. Rates from $200 CAD pp ($150 USD) with 3 meals & 1-night glamping and full use of resort amenities. Please call for details on all of our amazing pre and post-retreat package options.

Retreat Organizer

Bryan Fogelman has organized and hosted the REO retreat for the past 20 years and has learned from many of the best songwriting mentors in the world. Bryan started Blue Crush Music Ltd as a mini-label and artist development company in 2018. Bryan is writing and producing songs with Bo Henrik and other Canadian and international artists.


REO Songwriter Retreat Instructor Alumni 

Marty Dodson
Marty Dodson (2015-17; 2019)
Co-Founder, SongTown
Clay Mills (2015-16; 2019*)
Co-Founder, SongTown
Jason Blume (2013-14)
The Business of Songwriting
Mary Gauthier (2014)

Bonnie Hayes (2018)
Chair, Berklee College of Music
Deborah Holland (2018)
Director, Langara College
Jason Duke (2017)
Karen Taylor-Good (2013)
Pat Pattison (1998-2012)
Don Osborn (2011-12)
Steve Leslie (2012)
Clare McLeod (2012)