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Backyard Blues Fest to be held this weekend

May 8, 2019
By MEGHAN BRADBURY ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Music jams, international acts and recurring Backyard Bluesfests - the World Famous Buckingham Blues Bar prides itself on featuring the best in both local talent and original blues acts from around in the world.

The venue off Buckingham Road has made a name for itself through the course of more than 3,000 shows, featuring some of the best musicians in the blues genre.

"People come from all over the world," said owner Tommy Lee Cook. "We get people that come from Europe, especially during season. They just flock towards this place. I have been told it is the greatest place they have ever seen, or been to, for live music. It is a very special place. We have a great clientele. We have regulars that are our year-round people. During the day it is more like a Cheers. We cater to our locals during the day."

All ages, young to old, from bikers to golfers, visit the bar, due to the kind of music they provide.

"It is a very friendly place," Cook said.

The bar has a long and storied history. Cook said the property has been in existence for 52 years, home to many businesses throughout the years until he decided to purchase the venue almost two decades ago.

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He gutted it inside and out and remodeled 17 years ago with an eye towards a significant upgrade.

Now the World Famous Buckingham Blues Bar features the best original blues acts anywhere. Some of the acts are booked a couple times a year.

"These acts travel the world," he said.

Cook performs twice a week on Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon.

"That is what we call our open stage and musicians from all over the world come and play with us. Amateurs do, too. We primarily stick to blues," he said, adding that is the music he likes best.

The Open Stage Blues Jam is held from 8 to 11 p.m. every Wednesday and from 3 to 6 p.m. every Sunday.

Shows are put on at least three times a week, with one having a cover charge for the international traveling act, which usually performs on Friday, or Saturday night.

The next show will feature Damon Fowler from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, May 24, and Selwyn Birchwood from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, May 31. There is a $15 admission charge for both shows.

The bar also puts on outside festivals 12 times a year from October through May on Saturdays. The venue, which sits on almost seven acres, can accommodate about 1,000 people in the backyard.

The next Backyard Bluesfest, a favorite, will be held this Saturday, May 11, and feature J.P. Soars & The Red Hots, Cook and the Heathens. There is a $10 cover charge to attend. The festival starts at 2 p.m.

"It will go in the backyard until 7 p.m. and then we go inside at 8 p.m. There will be two acts, one at 8 and another at 9:30," Cook said.

The World Famous Buckingham Blues Bar serves beer and malt-style drinks.

The bar also features a beer drinking mule, which has been there for 17 years.

The World Famous Buckingham Blues Bar is at 5641 Buckingham Road. The bar opens at 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For a full listing of events, visit

Cook also owns The Hut Restaurant, which is a quarter mile north of the World Famous Buckingham Blues Bar, at 5150 Buckingham Road.

Again, he fully restored the local landmark in 2012.

"It's just a place that has been there for many years. I built 300 feet of boardwalk and renovated it inside and outside. It has waterfalls," Cook said.

The Hut offers a full bar, entertainment and American cuisine starting at 4:30 Wednesday through Friday and starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

The Hut features four dining and entertainment venues and three fully-stocked liquor bars.

For more information visit



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