Marty Stokes Band, left, JP Soars, Kenny Neal and Johnny Jensen, bottom row, are among the headliners of the Sanibel Blues and Jazz Fest from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 in the ‘back yard’ of Bailey’s Center.
Marty Stokes Band, left, JP Soars, Kenny Neal and Johnny Jensen, bottom row, are among the headliners of the Sanibel Blues and Jazz Fest from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 in the ‘back yard’ of Bailey’s Center.

The Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club pioneered a new fundraising event in November 2016, when they debuted the Sanibel Blues and Jazz Fest. It returns to the ‘back yard’ of Baileys Center from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 with outstanding award-winning musicians.

The Fest, which has become a success, provides funding for the Optimists’ many charitable endeavors, including six college scholarships and Sanibel Recreation Center summer programs for children. Headliners at this year’s festival include familiar faces, as well as some new ones. The following is in order of appearance:

FGCU JAZZ ENSEMBLE – The Florida Gulf Coast University Jazz Ensemble is gradually becoming one of the top collegiate ensembles and has been featured at the Landings Music Festival and the Sanibel Blues and Jazz Festival. The ensemble performs a variety of styles pertaining to the jazz idioms. The FGCU Jazz Combo is a small chamber group composed of the top players in the school and performs for various campus events including the Celebration of Excellence Ceremony.

JOHNNY JENSEN – Local Captiva Talent - began drumming at the tender age of four. Young Jensen, a Sanibel/Captiva native, discovered the guitar four years ago and counts Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton among his musical influences. He practices his craft locally at his family’s Captiva resort and at Fort Myers Music Walk, held monthly in the city’s historic river district. In 2017 Johnny was the opening act for this Festival and later played with headliners Elvin Bishop and Matt Schofield, both Hall of Famers..

MARTY STOKES BAND – Back again to the Sanibel Blues & Jazz Fest, and performing in clubs & festivals around Florida, this band won the IBC (International Blues Competition) trip to Memphis held in 2017 and is also a four-time winner of the Peoples' Choice Award, sponsored by the Southwest Florida Blues Society with standing room only audiences. Additionally, Marty has produced four CDs of original blues, and the latest ‘Down On My Knees’ has received strong international blues reviews.

JP SOARS – An encore performance from the 2016 Festival. JP Soars is not a typical blues guitarist. He has a diverse musical background that encompasses a multitude of influences. Soars toured the globe and recorded several records with some of the most extreme metal bands in the world before finding his home in the blues!

KENNY NEAL – Born in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge, began playing music at a young age is known as a modern swamp-blues and multi-instrumentalist, that draws from the sizzling sounds of his native Louisiana. Kenny haw won many awards and was nominated three times for a Grammy, the most recent for Best Contemporary Blues Album. He also won 2 BMAs (Blues Music Awards); one for Best Contemporary Blues Album and the other for Best Contemporary Male Blues Artist. Kenny Neal, a true living blues Legend is THE REAL DEAL and more poised than ever to deliver the blues like no one else can!

Ticket donations are $40 for General Admission and $125 for VIP Admission. Tickets are limited so be sure to purchase them soon online at “eventbrite Sanibel Blues & Jazz Festival” or on Sanibel directly at Bailey’s General Store, the Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, George and Wendy’s Seafood Grill, Sanibel Café and at the Festival entrance.

VIP Admissions include reserved seating, VIP ticket holder reserved parking, a Festival T-shirt, meet the bands, free raw bar, champagne bar, food, and beverages.

General Admission participants are reminded to bring their own seats. Fine food and a range of beverages, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase. As a result, no food or beverages may be brought into the grounds by attendees.

On-island parking will be available as follows: for all attendees – parking lots at the Sanibel Community House/Theater (2173 Periwinkle Way), the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ (2050 Periwinkle Way), the SunTrust Bank (2408 Periwinkle Way), the Sanibel U.S. Post Office (650 Tarpon Bay Road) are available with shuttle service to the Festival grounds. Parking or VIP ticket holders only, parking is also available across the street from the Festival grounds at the Bank of America (2450 Periwinkle Way). Handicap vehicle parking is available at Bailey’s General Store (2477 Periwinkle Way). Special Valet Bicycle Parking is offered directly at the Festival grounds.

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