The Southwest Florida Event Center in Bonita Springs announced Wednesday it will be closing its doors, citing impacts of the coronavirus and the unknown looking ahead.
The center on Bonita Beach Road opened in 2016 for concerts, dinner shows and special events.
Some of the headliners that performed over the years include Melissa Etheridge and Amy Grant. Sara Evans and the Gin Blossoms were slated to perform there later this year.
“Although our goals were lofty, we succeeded in building a successful event center ahead of industry standard. It has been a thrill to develop a loyal audience who welcomed some of the top touring artists into our community and hosted their special events in our spaces,” said owners Jennifer and Richard Shanahan.
Full release from SWFL Event Center:
Bonita Springs, Florida – Southwest Florida Event Center has woven itself into the fabric of the community over the past three years. We got into this business by circumstance but stayed in it by choice and with passion. Although our goals were lofty, we succeeded in building a successful event center ahead of industry standard. It has been a thrill to develop a loyal audience who welcomed some of the top touring artists into our community and hosted their special events in our spaces.
When Covid-19 struck our primary goal was to look out for our ticket holders. It was extremely important to us that our customers were able to get refunds without pushback from our ticketing company. With so many concerts throughout the world being “postponed” and using the same ticketing platform, we quickly made the decision to cancel all shows, allowing our patrons to be refunded immediately. We know it was the best decision, as since then, the ticketing platform has ceased refunds but 100% of our ticket holders received refunds.
The last 60 days have been difficult to be away from the hustle of the concert and event business. Considerable time has been spent evaluating the challenges of the industry moving into 2021, gauging what is going to be safest for the patron and artist alike. While social distancing for audience members may seem feasible, the logistics of putting on a concert will be tricky for the artists. There are so many facets and so many unknowns that we have made the difficult decision to cease operations.
We have always believed in “chasing unicorns”; talent possibly not fit for a venue our size. We have been fortunate to welcome Melissa Etheridge, Amy Grant, Mavis Staples, Robert Cray, America, Three Dog Night, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, just to name a few. It has been our pleasure to be the venue of choice for each wedding, Quinceanera, business meeting and fundraiser. Thank you Southwest Florida for welcoming us and embracing what we were able to provide to the community. We are forever grateful.
Jennifer and Richard Shanahan