SWFL new “it” spot for country concerts?

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ESTERO, Fla.- WINK News was there as country star Alan Jackson kicked off his national tour Thursday night.

Turns out, Southwest Florida may be the next hot spot for country music concerts and with them, comes a lot of visitors and big money.

“Amazing, to have Alan Jackson start his tour in Fort Myers, how great is that,” said country music fan Jamie Brown.

“It’s exciting. It is very close to go here and it is a great venue,” said Patty Mcegirr.

New country music night clubs like The Ranch in Fort Myers are opening up. So, is Southwest Florida the new  “it” spot for country music?

“I don’t think it has ever looked better,” said Laura Chmielewski with the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau. They organize the brand new Island Hopper Songwriter Festival, that has already pulled in big names.

“I have had artists from all over the country call our office at the Visitor and Convention Bureau, wondering not only how to play the festivals, but introductions to local nightclubs and wanting to play here,” said Chmielewski.

And when artists perform here, Chmielewski says it’s a major boost for our local economy.

“It brings a lot of ticket sales and a lot of hotel sales, dinner sales, we came to dinner down here tonight, so I am sure it does a lot for the economy,” said Brown.

WINK News exclusively spoke to Alan Jackson’s tour manager who says smaller towns like ours are a big hit.

“We want to be where the people live. And I think big cities are great, but we notice with Alan, his fans live in the more rural places,” said Nathan Baugh.

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