Early reports show that the Matlacha Mariners 13th annual Southwest Florida Blues Festival was one of the organization's best attended events yet.
Jerry Tolliver, event coordinator, said they sold out of wristbands for children who were 11 years old and younger. He said they had at least 100 wristbands for the youngsters.
"That indicates that younger people were there," Tolliver said. "We knew that there was quite a few young people, more than normal."
Albert Castiglia got the crowd on their feet during the Matlacha Mariners’ Southwest Florida Blues Festival.
The final numbers of how well the Matlacha Mariners did during the Blues Festival typically take about a week to tally.
"We will be refining the event throughout the year to make it more enjoyable for the attendees and the artist as well," Tolliver said for next year's event.
The Mariners typically bring five to seven blues artists to the event every year. This year there were seven acts: The Shaun Murphy Band, Mac Arnold and Plate Full O' Blues, Too Slim and the Taildraggers, Albert Castiglia, Deb and the Dynamics, Reverend Raven and The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys and Screamin' and Cryin'.
Tolliver said they had two local acts; one regional and four national artists perform at the show Nov. 17. They bands came from as far as Oregon, Nashville, South Carolina and Fort Lauderdale.
"All the fans that showed up had positive remarks and comments of how the event is run and what a wonderful time they have had," Tolliver said.
He said the event always comes together with a lot of hard work and effort.
"We try to take care of the attendees the best we can and make it enjoyable," Tolliver said.
The event could not have been made possible without all the vendors, advertisers and sponsors who helped the Mariners put on the Blues Festival, he said.
Tolliver said the Matlacha Hookers are also a big part of what makes the event so successful.
As the bands made their way on stage, the people in the crowd got up from their seats and began dancing in front of the stage, while singing along to the lyrics they knew. Individuals brought chairs with them and set them up as the found a spot on the lawn at the German American Social Club to listen to music until about 9 p.m. Saturday.
First time Blues Festival attendee Linda Boyd thought the event was great. She said she decided to check it out after she read about it in the newspaper.
Boyd said they attended the event to listen to Too Slim and The Taildraggers.
"Too Slim are coming up, that's who we came out for," she said.
Boyd said she might possibly attend the event again next year.
"It is pretty well put together, everything accessible and easy to get to," she said. "It's a nice venue."
Linda Lacey and Tom Rath also attended the festival for the first time after just recently moving to the area from California. They said they attended the High Sierra Music Festival, which was a four-day affair, while living in California.
"It's wonderful," Rath said. "We are definitely going to make it a yearly festival for us."
Lacey agreed that the festival was very nice. She said they arrived around 1 p.m. and initially thought they were going to leave before it ended, which she was not so sure about as the afternoon went on and the different artist took stage.
The 13th Annual Southwest Florida Blues Festival also attracted attendees who have attended for multiple years.
Mark Richards said the Nov. 17 festival was his third he has attended.
"We have a home down here and we enjoy the blues," he said. "A great opportunity and a lot of fun."
Although Richards enjoyed all the talent that performed during the festival, he said Deb and The Dynamics are one of his favorites.
"Hopefully, the local community will keep supporting it so it will continue," Richards said of the festival.
Steve Smith attended the festival for the 10th year. He said the music and the people is what brings him back every year.
Although local favorite Deb and The Dynamics was among the line-up, Smith said said he likes to hear all the blues music.
"I think it's a great event and I'm sorry it moved from the KOA," he said, which is located on Pine Island. "I'm glad someone is doing the blues music for sure."