Blues bar booming, puts small town on the map

From worst watering hole to booming blues bar
Posted at 10:08 PM, Aug 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-29 06:15:59-04

Smack dab in the middle of downtown Buckingham, you will find the Blues Bar. It’s a former run down biker joint in the heart of the rural town that’s blossomed into a musical hub.

“Music oozes through my veins,” Tommy Lee Cook, the owner of The World Famous Buckingham Blues Bar tells Four In Your Corner. “I wanted to create a space for original musicians to play.”

The music joint has done more than three thousand shows and is celebrating their 15th anniversary this August.

“We have people from all over come to play here,” Cook says. “That wasn’t always the case. This place was voted the worst bar in South West Florida before I bought it. Now, this is the best bar in the world.”

Cook and his band play the first set on Wednesdays and Sunday nights. Then anyone who wants to play signs up for a slot to play.

The bar has been around for fifteen years, drawing crowds from around the state and putting the rural spot on the map.

"I feel like sometimes I'm sitting in New Orleans,” Judy Taylor tells Four In Your Corner. "I'm like oh my gosh, where am I? Oh, I'm in Buckingham.”

While some performers and blues lovers drives hundreds of miles to the blues bar, other people like Douglas Jefferson are rooted and make up the spot’s musical DNA.

“As a drummer, my job is to create an atmosphere,” Jefferson said. “God gets all the glory. I’m just doing what I’ve been gifted with. If you enjoy it, I’ve done my job.”

The eclectic atmosphere moves outdoors for fall festivals drawing crowds to Buckingham to enjoy the blues.

"Sometimes they have five, six, seven hundred people show up in the fall,” Taylor says. “I will never go back to country, I am sold. Blues is fantastic.”

“I told Tommy Lee Cook that when I die I want them to bury me here,” Jefferson said. “It’s that amazing.”

The Buckingham Blues Bar features original blues acts on Wednesdays and Sunday nights.

Their first Blues Fall festival will kick off on October 15th.  For more information click here.