Friday, April 10, 2020

Goodland Arts and Music Festival Plays on Despite Coronavirus Scare


Photos by Scott H. Shook | Bill Olsen entertains attendees with his acoustic guitar and harmonica.


Organizers of the 8th annual Goodland Art and Music Fest decided the show must go on despite fears of the Coronavirus hovering over the island and the rest of the country. 

“It’s a little slow,” admitted event co-organizer, Sherri Morrison. “I think the fear of the Coronavirus is keeping our numbers down. We’re down a few artists who canceled. But we actually picked up a few artists from another festival that canceled. 

“We put a call out to the artists and asked. It was unanimous to keep it. We’ve got music all day and its great music. We had Gator Nate this morning. It’s always a great show.” 

Local favorite musical talent Gator Nate with his son Nate at the 8th Annual Goodland Arts and Music Festival.

“We’re the only show in town now,” said co-organizer Tara O’Neill, a former Artist of the Year for Marco Island. “Health and safety first, that’s our priority. We felt that since we’re outdoors and a small show, that we were relatively low risk. If you’re leaving your house at all, you’re going to meet this many people. So we did have vendors who did cancel, and thanked us very much for refunding their booth rental. Some of them had health issues. They were older or had compromised immune systems. Then we got a call from a woman in Fort Myers who was doing a show that got canceled. She’d done this show before. We started with 24—and we decided if it got to 12 vendors we’d cancel. It actually dropped to 13. Now we’re up to 18. We had a vendor waiting in the parking lot at 7 o’clock this morning. Very polite. Just said, ‘We thought we’d come down and see if there was any space available. 

Though the festival didn’t draw the crowds it’s accustomed to, it still had spurts of activities. And the vendors reported surprisingly solid sales. 

“We have all new vendors who are all having a great day,” O’Neill said. “There’s been a little bit of an appreciation that we’re out here. People want something to do. Everything is closing up on the vacationers.” 

Of course, the strong music lineup showed up in full force, including local favorites Gator Nate and Raiford Starke on Saturday and Merrill and Jimmy Allen on Sunday. 


It was a beautiful weekend to be outside on Goodland.

An attendee checks out a vendor’s products.

One response to “Goodland Arts and Music Festival Plays on Despite Coronavirus Scare”

  1. Jill says:

    Im glad the arts show was a success due to this horrible epidemic we are facing. I’ve been wondering with the “50 people” limit in bars and restaurants, why Stans Idle Hour is still allowed to operate? They have people from all over the US and from many different countries for that matter visit their establishment. If it isn’t fair for the restaurant down the road in Marco Island, it shouldn’t be allowed for Stans Idle Hour in Goodland either!!

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