From our friends at Florida Weekly:
Ever since the advent of the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest in 2014, the annual festival has grown ever bigger and more celebrated. The sixth annual festival, Sept. 20 – 29, promises more high notes and impressive numbers than ever before:
- Three different venue destinations throughout the county: Captiva Island (Sept. 20 – 22), downtown Fort Myers (Sept. 23 – 26) and Fort Myers Beach (Sept. 27 – 29).
- Ten days of sensational, original music.
- Seventy-plus acclaimed songwriters on stage.
- 100-plus live and lively performances.
The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau recommends you don’t miss one single event, but — for those who can’t make them all — suggests these six high notes. Some events are already sold out, so don’t wait too long to purchase tickets or you could miss out.
1) Rodney Kristian Bush plus Gulf Coast Symphony — Here’s an Island Hopper first: Grammy-winning vocalist and songwriter Kristian Bush pairs up with the Gulf Coast Symphony at downtown Fort Myers’ historic Florida Repertory Theatre on Sept. 22 for a match made in, well, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel (about as close to heaven as you can get on earth, the VCB believes.)
Country musician Bush forms half of the multi-platinum duo Sugarland, whose hits such as “It Happens” and “Already Gone” regularly strike #1 on the charts. The Gulf Coast Symphony, on the other hand, is a local favorite known for its out-of-the-box, relevant performances. It celebrates 25 years in Southwest Florida this year. General admission tickets for the performance cost $30 each.
2) Rodney Atkins plays finale — Country music hit singer-songwriter Rodney Atkins brings his star power to the festival’s finale on Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina on Fort Myers Beach. His fifth studio album, “Caught Up in the Country,” demonstrates what Atkins calls the most daring collection of his career.
This follows six No. 1 singles, eight top five singles and more than 13 million units sold. Country Aircheck calls his 2006 single, “Watching You,” the No. 1 song of the decade. That same year, he was named the top new male vocalist at the ACM awards.
3) Inaugural performance by a name-brand artist — The name “Williams” carries clout and fandom in the country music world. That’s “Williams” as in “Hank Jr.” This year for the first time, 22-year-old Sam Williams, Hank’s grandson, will perform, after just returning from a tour of Europe with country music legend “Cam” (short for Camaron Marvel Ochs). Stay tuned for information on his performance date and location (or set your Island Hopper app for notifications).
5) Songs + Dinner + Wine = packaged delight — The Barrel Room at Twisted Vine Bistro in downtown Fort Myers takes songwriting entertainment a couple of steps further. On Monday, Sept. 23, it pairs music with a three-course dinner and wine starting at 6 p.m. Musicians Frank Myers and Sarah Peacock will be on stage. Tickets are $72.93 plus tax and gratuity.
6) Music at the marina — On Wednesday, Sept. 25, Pinchers at the Marina at Edison Ford hosts the new rock-country quartet Gone West, featuring Colbie Caillat and special guest Ryan Hurd, starting at 7 p.m.
Caillat has sold more than 6 million albums worldwide and more than 10 million singles. Hurd has written for Blake Sheldon, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum and Tim McGraw, among others, including his wife, Maren Morris. Tickets for the two-hour show start at $35 for general admission.
For more information, visit www.island-hopper.fortmyers-sanibel.com or download the free, newly updated version of the Island Hopper mobile app. And don’t forget to make your reservations to stay at Ocean’s Reach. We’re centrally located to all of the amazing music in store!