Island Songwriting Contest Announced


After a couple of years in the planning stages, the Marine Resources Task Force will be hosting its first annual ‘Mothers Day/Mother Earth Rhythm of the Island Festival’ on Saturday, May 7th in conjunction with the Santini Plaza May event. With the blessing of Santini owner Al Durrett and the Town of Fort Myers Beach, the committee is now seeking applicants for the songwriting contest that will be part of the event.

“The festival is a celebration of our island, our beach and our extraordinary natural environment,” said a press release issued by Chairman Bill Veach and approved by the committee. “It is a celebration of our sugar white sand, of playing dolphins, of waters rich with fish and shellfish, and the thousands of different types of birds who visit our emerald shores. The festival will feature a songwriting contest, where talented songwriters create songs about our island and it’s nature.”

Those interested in performing must send in their songs no later than April 21st. The winner will be eligible to perform alongside national acts at the Island Hopper Songwriters Festival that begins on September 23rd this year.

“All songs must be original and never recorded for distribution, must be about Fort Myers Beach and the nature of island,” Bill said. “They must be performed by the writer. No loops or recordings are allowed. All portions of the song must be original and the writer must retain all rights to the song entered. We will have both a panel and audience judging, with an overall winner being decided with a weighted combined score. The overall winner is eligible to perform at the next Island Hopper festival along with national acts. To enter, email an MP3 version of the entry song, along with details of the song and any backstory to no later than April 21st. Use the same email address for additional information or for instructions for sending larger audio or video entry files.”

In addition to the songwriter contest, the event will feature various environmental speakers and educational booths celebrating the beauty of our natural resources and our island.

“The whole idea behind this was to have a day where people could celebrate everything they love about Fort Myers Beach,” said Vice-Chair Keri Weeg. “We wanted to have it close to Earth Day.”

It was Santini Marina Plaza event coordinator Bonnie Roberts’ suggestion that the event be held in conjunction with Mother’s Day (the original title was ‘Love Your Mother Earth’ Day – as many of her wonderful 40+ arts and crafts vendors will have ready-made gifts for mom on display – and Bill came up with the songwriter contest concept as a way of showcasing the beauty of our community through song – almost like an island-style Woodstock.

“Keri and I will be MC’ing the event, and between songwriting groups we will celebrate and discuss topics important to our island and islanders with some of the amazing groups that maintain and protect our waters and wildlife,” Bill said in the press release. “These folks will be introduced by the other committee members. If you are a fan of original music performed by the songwriters, of stories about the island that you know and love, then this unique festival is a must attend for you. Come discover the music writing and storytelling talent of our local singer/songwriters and celebrate our unique and inspiring island.”

The celebration and contest runs from 9am to approximately 1pm – the details of exactly who will play or speak and when they will do so are still being worked out so stay tuned to the Sand Paper as the event gets closer. After the contest, MRTF plans on having a short set including the contest winners and end the festival with a sing-along jam session and a drum circle.

In addition to all the musical love, those attending the festival will get to visit environmental education booths and enjoy all the wonderful things a Bonnie Roberts event brings: 40+ arts and crafts vendors, mouth-watering BBQ by Bonez Brothers, margaritas and bloody mary’s from Skye’s Mexican, tasty treats from Truly Scrumptious and much, much more!

“This is going to be fun, fun, fun – bring your moms for a special day and celebrate paradise with us!” Bonnie said. “The event is free, but – like usual we will be accepting donations for Find A Home, Give A Home, our local pet charity.”

Get those songs ready and send them in!


Keri Hendry Weeg

Vice-Chair, The Marine Resources Task Force