So, now What? It’s the end of September, so it’s not quite summer and not quite fall; hold on, it’s always summer in Southwest Florida. What better way to continue our endless summer than with the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest?

Each year in this bustling corner of Southwest Florida, more specifically, Captiva, Downtown Fort Myers, and Fort Myers Beach. There is held an annual songwriter festival that spans 10 days in September. Since its commencement, it has drawn songwriters and fans from across the United States and the globe. Making this a very attractive place for music lovers to enjoy hundreds of free performances in venues showcasing some of country music’s best singer-songwriters.

With the reappearance of many songwriters, the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest offers up new artists every year. Making the songwriter festival a command event of your summer.

The Island Hopper, as stated above, extends over three regions of Lee County and specific dates over the ten days. The Island Hopper Fest runs for 10 days on Captiva Island. Being hosted by venues such as Key Lime Bistro, RC Otters, or Mucky Ducks. Located in the very heart of “Olde Captiva,” the location makes it easy for you to enjoy the fine shops, fabulous restaurants, art galleries, an old-style general store… and, most importantly, our famous Captiva beach with the most beautiful sunsets in the world! I do have to admit they are absolutely gorgeous. Is there a superior way to experience a Captiva sunset than hanging at Mucky Duck?

Our next stop on this songwriter train is to the heart of the ever-gorgeous and historic Downtown Fort Myers. Shows are held at some of the most picturesque bars and restaurants Fort Myers offers. Venues like City Tavern on Bay Street, or maybe you’re more into an outside courtyard approach; then you’ll definitely be interested in the Social House on Hendry Street. Did I mention these shows are free of charge? You just need to show up and enjoy the music. We can’t leave out the Ms. Berne Davis’s legacy with shows being held at the world-class venue Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center right on First Street. Purchasing a ticket for the SBD is required, but all proceeds go back to the art center.

We round out this songwriting soirée with our feet in the sand and fruity drink to our lips in Fort Myers Beach. Venues range from Nervous Nellies, a casual, family-fun restaurant that boasts a large selection of appetizers, fresh seafood, over-stuffed sandwiches, and a most amazing venue for the music of Essex County. Country music has hip-shaking Georgia boys, sweet-crooning duos, and more than its fair share of tall, dark, and predictable singing songs about love, loss, and alcohol. Not choosing favorites here, but my MOST favorite Bar & Grill on the beach has to be Yucatan Beach Stand Bar and Grill, located on Old San Carlos Blvd. Did I mention they also boast the best grouper sandwich in Southwest Florida? Yes, the best grouper sandwich in SWF.

I could not be more excited for the Island Hopper Fest with an amazing group of singer-songwriters from Nashville and nationwide. Most shows are free except for a few ticketed experiences like the headliner shows.

Stay up-to-date on it all with the Island Hopper website or by downloading the app or your IOS or Android device. You will also be able to follow along before, during, and after the event on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

If you are interested and want to come to Fort Myers for any or all of these notable artists, check out The Hibiscus House B&B for your Fort Myers Songfest lodging. And remember, when you stay at the Hibiscus House B&B, you always enter as guests and leave as friends.

Alan Ohara