Over the years, one of our enjoyments is to attend outdoor jazz festivals for the great music, people and spirit. We started at the Ottawa IJF many years ago and continue to go there almost every year. Key shows we remember out of hundreds are Tony Bennet, Wynton Marsalis and Diana Krall.
We have also been able to attend the Newport RI, Montreal QC, New Orleans LA, and Falmouth, Jamaica jazz festivals. We have seen B.B King, Celine Dion, Brian Wilson and George Benson among many others at these famous festivals. I often compare experiences at these events. Ottawa remains our favorite little home town festival because it is small, intimate and has a great setting by the Rideau Canal.
Well we can now add another one to our list – the Punta Gorda Jazz and Wine Festival in Punta Gorda, FL just north of us here in Fort Myers.
This festival in it’s 11th year is a “smooth jazz” festival and boasted 3 international acts this year: Nick Collione (guitar and vocalist from Chicago), Bobby Caldwell (vocalist from S. Miami) and Mindi Abair (tenor sax player from St. Petersburg, FL).
About 3000 people attended (relatively small). There were boats anchored in the bay with hundreds more in attendance. Everyone was ready for a party and the weather was superb. It was our special treat out and what a treat it was.
What we really liked:
- you can bring your own food and wine into the festival, just no coolers
- Nick Collione is a superb entertainer and had almost everyone on their feet dancing
- the crab cakes were to die for
- the friendly people
- Mindi Abair had everyone up and dancing in front of the stage at the end
- free wine glasses and souvenir bag
- the dancing
Highly recommended. Thank you Punta Gorda, Nick, Bobby and Mindy! God willing we will be back again next year.