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Mariner High student among entertainers set for Taste of Pine Island

By Staff | Jan 15, 2013

Photo provided Mariner High School junior Cameron Swartz, 16, of Pine Island Steel will perform for the first time at Taste of Pine Island on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27

Two days of entertainment will be featured later this month during the Taste of Pine Island, which is guaranteed to get people out of their seats moving to the music.

The two-day affair will be held Saturday, Jan. 26, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 27, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., at Phillips Park.

Pre-sale two day passes for the Taste of Pine Island are currently on sale for $8 at Capital Bank in St. James City, Stonegate Bank in St. James City, Ad&PrintCraft in Bokeelia and the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce in Matlacha.

Tickets at the door are $5 per day.

The Whole Tones, Strange Arrangement, Kip and Trailer Park Barbie, Pine Island Steel and Pine Island Dance will provide entertainment during Taste of Pine Island.

For the past three to five years, Strange Arrangement has performed at the festival.

“It’s really fun,” Warren VanKirk of Strange Arrangement said about Taste of Pine Island. “It’s for the community.”

Once Warren and his brother Gregory graduated from high school, they began playing more and started the band Strange Arrangement in 2004 or 2005. Although local and non-local musicians have contributed to the band’s success along the way, Warren said he and his brother are the core of the band due to them being together since the beginning.

“They help us out and fill in when they are available,” he said of the other musicians.

Warren said they will have five to seven people playing with them during the Taste of Pine Island. The band will play all original music with a good time feel to the tunes.

He said they will be taping into a little bit of everything, instead of playing any certain kind of genre.

Warren said he is looking forward to the Taste of Pine island because it’s always a good time.

He encourages everyone on the islands to continue to support local music and artists.

“The support of the people helps us get to the next place,” Warren said.

Kip Lawrence and Trailer Park Barbie, who recently began playing together, will also perform at the show.

The two actually live across the street from one another.

“I found out that she wrote songs,” he said of why they paired up together to perform. “Her songs are incredible. Having someone like her is like having another instrument.”

Trailer Park Barbie said the two have been playing together for about two months now singing original songs and writing original music.

She said although she was in a band in Nebraska, it has been 15 years since she played because she got married, had a child and worked.

Music became part of her life again after she picked up a guitar and began playing during a barbeque at Lawrence’s house. She said in addition, Lawrence also encouraged her to get on stage during a Creative Coast weekend as well.

“The response was really fun,” Trailer Park Barbie said of her on stage performance.

She said Lawrence has been a really big influence and motivation for her when it comes to music.

“He’s always believed in my voice,” Trailer Park Barbie said, adding that Lawrence has always been inspirational.

Although Lawrence has not played at the Taste of Pine Island for quite a few years and Trailer Park Barbie has never played there, they are both excited about the performance.

Lawrence said although they will perform a few Yard Dogs songs, it will mainly be their new stuff, which are ballads.

Trailer Park Barbie explained her music to be more on the country side with a little folk.

“We both just want to grow with the island,” she said, adding that they want to write songs about Pine Island and Matlacha. “We want to stick around home and raise our family and make our music.”

The youngest performer of the Taste of Pine Island is Mariner High School junior Cameron Swartz, 16, of Pine Island Steel.

The young musician moved to Pine Island seven or eight years ago and began attending North Fort Myers Middle School Academy of the Arts. Swartz said he wanted to attend that school because of its involvement with steel drums.

“I thought it was an amazing instrument that I never saw before,” he said. “I had to do it the second I saw it.”

After he graduated from middle school, he decided to buy his own steel drum, which has furthered his passion for the instrument.

“Once I started learning it, I fell more in love with it,” Swartz said, adding that he loves sharing the history of the drum as well.

This is the first year he will be performing at the Taste.

“One of the people setting up the Taste of Pine Island requested me through the Boy Scouts I used to be in,” he said, which he was really excited about.

Those who attend the festival can see Swartz play as the opening act both days for 30 minutes.

“I’m excited that I get to do this,” he said. “I have loved the Taste of Pine Island since I have moved down here. I know a lot of the bands around here. I am looking forward to being a part of the entertainment with them.”