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Blues Fest draws music lovers from near and far

By Staff | Nov 20, 2011

Peter Kaufman traveled all the way from Denmark to listen to some live blues music. Sort of.

He was on business in Orlando when he caught wind of the 12th annual Southwest Florida Blue Festival, so he decided to grab two of his friends, take a three -day vacation, and head on down to Lee County to check out some live music.

“This is my first time in Florida. It’s been fantastic. I’m having a great time,” Kaufman said.

He was one of thousands who flocked to the German American Social Club on Saturday for the festival, which featured non-stop music for nine hours.

Some of the acts included national recording artists like Deborah Coleman, Smokin Joe Kubek and Bnois King and Tommy Lee Cook.

Performances by the bands Southern Hospitality and Blue Fury was enough to get Paul and Margaret Karst to the festival, though they planned on staying for the full nine hours to get their blues fix.

They didn’t travel as far as Kaufman, but the festival has become a tradition for the Englewood couple who come to Lee County, spend the weekend and stay with friends on Pine Island.

“We come every year,” Paul said. “The music, the weather, the venue, everything is great. We always have a blast.”

The Blues Festival drew not only music lovers but also fellow musicians.

Rob Brooks, whose band “Robbnthecradle” performs in Lee and Collier counties, came out to relax and let someone else perform for once.

Brooks said he’d seen Damon Fowler of Southern Hospitality perform previously in Tampa, so he was happy to get the chance to see him again.

“It’s nice to just sit and watch for a while. I play in a band but I’m a music fan, too,” Brooks said.

Produced by the Matlacha Mariners, the event is not for profit and proceeds go to local charities. The Mariners also put on other events such as the Southwest Florida Mullet Toss and the Seafood Festival and Car Show, both of which are also big draws.

Previously held on Pine Island, the event was moved to the German American Social Club three years ago because its popularity outgrew the previous venue.

The festival also featured vendors, food and plenty of ice cold adult beverages.