Island Hopper Songwriter Fest Sept. 22 – Oct. 1

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With new locations added to the lineup and new experiences for music lovers, the ninth Island Hopper Songwriter Fest promises to be even stronger after Hurricane Ian in 2022.
“We are excited to bring Island Hopper to Cape Coral this year, giving people four locations in Lee County to catch performances by Nashville singer-songwriters,” said Tamara Pigott, executive director of the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “Along with downtown Fort Myers, Captiva Island and Fort Myers Beach, it’s a great addition to an event that continues to grow and celebrate what’s best about Lee County.”
Island Hopper Songwriter Festival runs Sept. 22 through Oct. 1.
Island Hopper Songwriter Fest welcomes Chris Janson who will perform at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina pool party on Fort Myers Beach Sunday, Oct. 1. Kristian Bush of Sugarland will also perform that day. Tickets are on sale now.

Chris Janson

“In 2023, we are going to be bringing in an exciting new group of writers, along with some favorites that come back every year. Add in a few new venues plus a great closer with Chris Janson and it’s going to be an exciting festival,” said Louis Kaplan, vice president programming in SW Florida for iHeart Media.
Chris Janson, proud member of the Grand Ole Opry and multi-platinum songwriter and artist, is part of country’s new breed. In touch with the lighter side of life with self-penned No. 1s “Fix A Drink,” “Good Vibes,” and the triple platinum “Buy Me A Boat,” as well as the more thoughtful truths of “Done,” “Things You Can’t Live Without,” and the CMA Song of the Year nominee and ACM Video of the Year “Drunk Girl.” Both “Boat” and “Girl” were named to the Nashville Songwriters Association International’s prestigious “Songs I Wish I Wish I’d Written” list, which is why artists like Tim McGraw (“Truck Yeah,” “How I’ll Always Be”), Justin Moore (“Off The Beaten Path”), Cody Johnson (“Let’s Build A Fire”), and the iconic Hank Williams Jr. (“God Fearin’ Man,” “Those Days Are Gone”) reach for Janson’s songs for their own projects. Beyond his artistry are his live shows, where all that heart-on-the-four-wheeler songwriting meets the fans where they come to rock.
Rolling Stone proclaimed Janson “a live legacy in the making.”

Kristian Bush

Kristian Bush is a multi platinum-selling, two-time Grammy Award winner most known for being half of the record-breaking Country duo Sugarland. The Sevierville, Tenn., native launched his professional music career in 1994 with the folk-rock duo Billy Pilgrim. Within the decade, Kristian moved on to form Sugarland with Jennifer Nettles. The pair, who released debut single “Baby Girl” in 2004 went on to chart five No. 1 hits and 12 Top 10 songs including “Stuck Like Glue,” “Want To” and “Stay.” His Southern Gravity solo debut in 2015 produced Top 20 hit “Trailer Hitch.” Kristian’s new 52-song, four-volume solo album, 52, is rolling out the next 12-18 months. “52 – ATLxBNA,” the first installment, is available now along with his accompanying weekly podcast “52-The Podcast.”
Kristian made a foray into television theme songs in 2016 with “Forever Now (Say Yes),” which he penned and performed for TLC’s popular show “Say Yes to the Dress.” The multi-instrumentalist is also a founding member of Rock Jam band Dark Water alongside his brother Brandon Bush and esteemed guitarist Benji Shanks.
The four locations and dates include: Captiva Island Sept. 22 – 24; Cape Coral Sept. 25 – 26; downtown Fort Myers Sept. 27 – 28; and Fort Myers Beach Sept. 29 – Oct. 1.
While most shows are free, new this year to Island Hopper will be more ways to enjoy unique, ticketed live performances.
A songwriter cruise with Tim James and Angie K. on Sept. 24 has already sold out.
A songwriter dinner with Charlie Worsham will be held Sept. 25 at Gather in Cape Coral.
The ACMA Songwriter Showcase will take place Sept. 27 at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center in Fort Myers.
Music on the Mound with Sheena Brook and Brian Sutherland is set for Sept. 30 at Mound House on Fort Myers Beach.
“BMI has been a proud sponsor of the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest since its inception, and last year was one of the most successful ever with packed venues and sold-out hotels,” said Dan Spears, BMI’s VP of Industry Relations. “Immediately following last year’s success, Hurricane Ian decimated Southwest Florida and affected many of the businesses that hosted the festival’s songwriter performances, which made us even more determined to come back to help the community that has been so welcoming to us over the years. Once again, we’re thrilled to be showcasing some of our most talented songwriters while supporting BMI-licensed businesses, and this festival gives us the perfect opportunity to do both.”
More than 70 songwriters are scheduled to perform including Adam Ezra, April Cushman, Billy McKnight, Bobby Tomberlin, Brian Sutherland, Ben Burgess, Catie Offerman, Claire Liparulo, Clint Daniels, Charlie Worsham, Clare Cunningham, Elsten Torres, Essex County, Coretta King, Frank Myers, Danny Myrick, Dave Gibson, Dylan Altman, Emily Shackleton, Joey McGee, Sheena Brook, Sonia Leigh, Phil O’Donnell, Tim James, Emily Shackleton to name a few.
More than 20 venues will host songwriters:
In Cape Coral, they are Gather, High Tide Social House, Pinchers at Tarpon Point Marina and Nauti Mermaid Dockside Bar & Grill.
Venues on Captiva include Key Lime Bistro, Tween Waters Island Resort, Captiva Cruises, Mucky Duck, RC Otter’s, South Seas Island Resort and The Green Flash.
Downtown Fort Myers venues are City Tavern, Luminary Hotel & Co. (4th floor pool deck), Social House, The Banyan Hotel (rooftop) and the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.
Venues on Fort Myers Beach are Bayside Park, Cabanas Beach Bar & Grille, Lighthouse Tiki Bar & Grill, Matanzas on the Bay, Mound House, Yucatan Beach Stand and the Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina.

Southwest Florida singer-songwriters Claire Liparulo and Joey McGee return this year. They will each perform at venues in Cape Coral Sept. 25 and 26 and in downtown Fort Myers Sept. 27 and 28. photo by Jamie Kuser

For the full lineup and ticket info, visit islandhopperfest.com or download the app.
Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is presented by BMI, Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods, iHeart Radio and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.
Happenings Magazine is again a sponsor of the annual festival.

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