photo by Sandrine Lee
BRADENTON – Bradenton's getting ready for the blues—again. Fresh from the success of last year's sold-out festival, the 2013 Bradenton Blues Festival, a family-friendly day of top blues stars and inspired food and art, returns to downtown Bradenton's Riverwalk on December 7.
The 2013 lineup includes the acclaimed young vocalist Shemekia Copeland; Kris and Nick Schnebelen of Trampled Under Foot and legendary Mississippi soul-blues man Johnny Rawls; the celebrated Eddie Shaw & the Wolfgang; musical siblings Danielle; guitarist, singer and songwriter Anthony Gomes; rising blues star John Nemeth and soulful, up and comer Albert Castiglia.
Local favorites Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones will appear with the Dennis Gruenling Band. Tickets, which are now on sale, are $30 in advance; $40 at the gate; $25 per person for groups of 10 or more; $20 for students; and $10 for children, ages 5-12. Children four and under will be admitted free.
"The inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival was the best first-year festival I've experienced in 25 years in this business," says Paul Benjamin, the veteran music festival producer who helped bring last year's inaugural festival to life. "Based on last year's success and this year's outstanding lineup, the 2013 festival promises to be incredible!"
Mary GrandPré, the celebrated Harry Potter illustrator, signed on for a second year to create a limited-edition festival poster. "We’re auctioning the original work to raise funds for Realize Bradenton's youth music programs," says Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton. Also on the auction block are "Blue Note" diamond earrings, valued at $3,500 and created for Realize Bradenton by master gemologist and appraiser Tom Seguin.
The public is invited to view these creations and make a bid at Suncoast Gems, 4016 Cortez Road West, Suite 1201, in Bradenton. Additional Bradenton Blues Festival merchandise and memorabilia include t-shirts, hats and a handful of last year's iconic limited-edition poster—all on sale at Keeton's Office and Art Supply, 817 Manatee Avenue West in downtown Bradenton, and online at a site hosted by Manatee Apparel Graphics at www.manateeapparel.com/realizebradenton/home.
“Dozens of Bradenton-based businesses and organizations are sponsoring this event," says Isham. "We're a close-knit family ready to rock our region again with a world-class festival!"
This year's event will once again feature an impressive blend of old and new.
"This year's festival features some of the top blues acts in the country—and something for all tastes," says Isham. "We’ll be wowed by acclaimed veteran Mississippi delta blues masters like Eddie Shaw and Johnny Rawls, and bowled over by such young and gifted blues stars as Trampled Under Foot, John Nemeth and Albert Castiglia, who are putting their own electrifying stamps on contemporary blues music."
Isham stresses that blues fans should buy tickets early. "We sold more than 3,000 tickets last year within the space of a few months," says Isham. "If you want to guarantee a seat, it's best to buy your tickets long before December. We can’t promise we'll have any seats left at the door."
Isham adds that an educational initiative will again be a major component of the festival. On Friday, December 6, "Blues in the Schools," an outreach program at Manatee High School, will feature appearances by selected festival artists, who share their talents and professional advice with area students. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.BradentonBluesFestival.org.
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