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Bonita Springs belts out beautiful blues

It turns out you don’t have to sail down the bayou to hear good blues anymore.

This March, the eighth annual Bonita Blues Fest will once again bring some of the biggest names in blues right here to South Florida, and this year, they bring with them a great opportunity for students looking for service learning hours. The festival will be held from 2 – 9:15 p.m. March 14 and from 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. March 15 at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs. Most importantly, all proceeds are divvied up and then given away to three charity organizations in Bonita.

The founders, Kevin and Jennifer Barry, are looking for volunteers to pick up trash around the grounds during the festival and to help with the fi nal cleanup at the end of the weekend, but this opportunity offers an experience far beyond just getting those service hours over with. Volunteers will get the unique opportunity to interact with big players in the blues scene, and get an exciting inside look at what it’s really like behind the scenes of an outdoor concert. General admission tickets range from $25 to $50, but volunteers will be admitted into the festival and the VIP section for free in exchange for their help.

“We have a VIP area with food for the people helping out and everything,” Kevin Barry said, explaining that there will be plenty of opportunity to mingle with the bands. “A lot of the time, when they’re done, the artists will wander around the crowd and visit, too.”

The lineup this year includes Peter Parcek, the Joe Moss Band, RJ Howson, and Rex Bongo & the Sophisticated Hippies, just to name a few.

“We work so hard to put this on,” Barry said. “It’d be really great to get some help to get us out of there faster.”

During the last seven years, the Bonita Blues Festival has donated tens of thousands of dollars to its three charities: the Bonita Springs Assistance Offi ce, the Music for Minors Foundation and the Golisano Children’s Hospital Music Therapy Program. This year, the festival organizers aim to top their highest single year donation of $21,000 (achieved last year).

If you’re interested in volunteering, you may contact Kevin Barry at kbarryorion@ gmail.com, 239-287-9594 or 239- 898-2939. To learn more about the event, check out the festival’s website: www.bonitablues.com.

About The Author

Rachel Stroecker

Rachel Stroecker is a 24-year-old journalism student with a passion for theatre, comic books, literature, and cat-sitting. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably watching CW television shows about superheroes or reading young adult novels with female protagonists. Either that, or she’s napping. One day, she aspires to be a theatre critic, since getting paid to see Broadway shows sounds like the bee’s knees.

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