Music brings us together. On Nov. 20, it will bring an expected crowd of more than 1,200 to the Marco Marriot Beach Resort for the First Annual Marco Island Charity Beach Music Festival.
The festival is designed to bring travelers and locals together for those in need. For only $10 per ticket, attendees can dance to the music of local headliners during a sunset beach concert, cool off in the Gulf of Mexico during a skim boarding competition and give their taste buds a workout with the Best Burger in Paradise contest. All proceeds from the event will benefit local and regional charitable organizations.
“I saw this beautiful, expansive beach and thought this would be the perfect place for a music festival,” said Bob Pfeffer, director of sales and marketing at the Marco Marriot and the organizer of the event. “What better place to showcase local acts and expose people to the Island.”
The musical line-up includes the reggae/rock band, The Sheffield Crew, singer/songwriter Casey Weston and the resort’s own Slarok, which is led by the hotel’s food and beverage director, and followed by the headlining band, The Landsharks, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band who have played with the artist himself. Performers will be on stage from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
“We really wanted to have local artists,” said Pfeffer, who organized the event last year but had to cancel it because of the weather. “We want to show off Marco’s own.”
From noon and 3 p.m., revelers will be treated to a gourmet burger competition between 10 local restaurants. Several eateries on the Island, including Café De Marco, Crazy Flamingo and CJ’s on the Bay will participate in the Best Burger in Paradise contest. Winners can boast that they are the “people’s choice,” “most unique” and “where’s the beef” winners. Festival goers can buy samples of the burgers for $3, which also goes to charities. There will be stations serving beer, wine, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches too.
“The burger contest is to showcase the culinary expertise of chefs on the Island,” Pfeffer said. “People can taste first hand how good it is.”
A skim board competition hosted by JetSet Surf Shop will be held throughout the day. The Marco based store has brought in skim boarders, riders that use a small board to glide across the surface of the water, from all over to compete. According to Pfeffer, some competitors are sponsored by skim board companies.
“It seems different to have a competition like this,” said Pfeffer, a Marco resident, “But we want to add different components to the festival and have many activities going on at the same time.”
Pfeffer said he is in talks with the Marco River Marina to add a fishing tournament next year. He hopes to expand the music festival with more artists and lengthen it to a week-long event. The fireworks show at 9 p.m. will be a permanent part of the festival.
“Some people in Naples and Fort Myers have never been to here,” Pfeffer said, “This will have people experience Marco’s pristine beaches, local music, culinary delights and show them a unique place they didn’t know existed before.”