After Hurricane Irma devastated many areas of Southwest Florida, BMI songwriters were even more eager to perform at the 4th annual Island Hopper Songwriters Fest because it gave them the opportunity to help many businesses that support them during the year through their licensing fees. As it turns out, audiences were also eager for a break after the storms – festival organizers reported record crowds.
Presented by BMI in partnership with the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, and iHeart Media’s Cat Country 107.1, the 10-day festival featured 85 BMI songwriters who performed in more than 20 venues on Captiva Island, Fort Myers Beach and in Downtown Fort Myers. Several establishments commented that the songwriter shows helped them achieve record revenue in certain cases, providing some relief to a few of the many communities that sustained significant damage from the hurricane. These quotes have reassured songwriters that their work is important to businesses:
“Thanks to BMI for once again partnering with the Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau and the local Restaurant and Resort Owners to bring another Island Hopper Singer-Songwriter Festival to Captiva Island. As an owner of six restaurants, The Captiva Island Inn, and two shopping centers, I truly appreciate this year’s festival more than ever. After Hurricane Irma shut us down, we were struggling to get the restaurants open. We pushed and had four of six restaurants open. It truly helped boost our businesses after two weeks of zero income and all of the expenses due to the cleanup efforts. I also appreciate the fact that you didn’t call off the event. It brought my servers, bartenders, and staff back to work again. I kept them busy clearing brush and debris, cleaning and painting. They were sure happy to be back to their regular jobs serving our guests. My regular musicians are now back to work on their regular schedules and gigs.” -Sandy Stilwell, CEO/Owner, Stilwell Enterprises & Restaurant Group
“I just wanted to pass along sincere thanks to BMI as well as the partners of the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival. So many people were affected by Hurricane Irma and many who attended commented how great a diversion it was to come to Captiva and enjoy the music and the spirit of the event. I can’t wait to be a host next year and expand upon what turned into a wonderful venue at our pool.”– Brett Gooch, General Manager, Tween Waters Inn.
BMI songwriters are also already talking about next year’s festival. They truly love being part of a business’s success, rain or shine. For more information on how to license their music, visit bmi.com.
Photos courtesy of Lee’s County Visitor & Convention Bureau by Brian Tietz.