BRADENTON, Fla. — The Bradenton Blues Festival weekend returns to downtown Bradenton with three days of events and acclaimed blues musicians, Dec. 1–3, 2017. Kicking off the blues weekend is the “Blues Appetizer” Concert, a free show for the community, Friday, Dec. 1; followed by the Bradenton Blues Festival, Saturday, Dec. 2; and wrapping up the weekend is the Blues Brunch, Sunday, Dec. 3. Blues musicians played for fans who traveled from across the country and globe to attend the sellout festival in 2016, and another at-capacity crowd is anticipated for 2017.
Musicians of national acclaim are to take the big stage at the Bradenton Blues Festival on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, representing a variety of blues styles. This year’s lineup includes 2017 Grammy Nominated, four-time Blues Music Award winner Joe Louis Walker; B.B. King Entertainer of The Year winner, Curtis Salgato, who NPR calls “a blues icon” with a “huge voice”; Grammy Award winner and harmonica player of The Rolling Stones, Sugar Blue; “The world’s premier Zydeco showman,” Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band; gifted storyteller and songwriter Nick Moss; blues vocalist, saxophonist, and songwriter, educated at Berklee College of Music, Vanessa Collier; and “One of the top 50 blues guitarists of the last century,” Sean Chambers. Former child prodigy featured on countless TV shows from the 90s, Brody Buster, will play between sets.
The festival’s artistic director and Chair of the International Blues Foundation, Paul Benjamin, said, “Over the past five years, the Bradenton Blues Festival has become a premier event known to festival-goers and musicians. Realize Bradenton has consistently joined talented blues musicians with a well-executed festival, and that is a winning combination.” Benjamin continued, “You won’t find a better place in the world to listen to the blues than on the sunny Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton in early December.”
“There were more than 3,000 people from 32 states and 9 foreign countries that attended in 2016, giving significant exposure to Bradenton,” according to Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton. “The impact of this event is far-reaching, and continues Realize Bradenton’s mission of enhancing quality of life and generating economic impact for downtown Bradenton,” Isham explained.
More than just a good time, festival ticket-buyers enable Realize Bradenton to produce youth, art, and music education programs that are free to the community, including “Blues in the Schools.” “The ‘Blues in the Schools’ program provides a platform to inspire budding musicians and share the history of blues music in the United States,” Isham said.
On Friday, Dec. 1, Bradenton Blues Festival headliner, Vanessa Collier, will visit Manatee High School and discuss her experiences attending Berklee College of Music where she earned dual degrees in Performance and Music Production & Engineering, as well as her career as a musician. “’Blues in the Schools’ gives us a meaningful way to support our community’s youth and arts education efforts,” Isham continued, adding that the program is made possible by funding from R.M. Beall, Sr. Charitable Foundation and proceeds from Bradenton Blues Festival ticket sales.
In keeping with the community outreach aspect of the festival, Realize Bradenton has collaborated with Mojoe Productions, Inc. to produce the “Blues Appetizer” Concert, a community concert that is free to attend, Friday, Dec. 1, 6–9 p.m.
More than 55 sponsors of the 2016 event have pledged their recommitment to support one of downtown Bradenton’s signature events. “Many of the businesses and organizations that supported the festival last year lined up to be part of it again,” says Isham, adding that BMO Harris Bank is the festival’s Presenting Sponsor for the sixth year in a row.
The “Blues Appetizer” Concert, presented by Mojoe Productions, Inc., is Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, on the Bradenton Riverwalk. Gates open at 5 p.m. Tickets are not required for this free community concert. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Music begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.
The Bradenton Blues Festival, presented by BMO Harris Bank, is Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, on the Bradenton Riverwalk. Gates open at 10 a.m. Music starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Festival tickets are $35 in advance; $50 at the gate (cash only); $30 per person for groups of 10 or more; $20 for students with student ID; and $10 for children, ages 5–12. Children ages four and under are free. One-hundred reserved front-of-stage seats are available for $100 per person. Advanced ticket sales are available online at BradetntonBluesFestival.org and at Keeton’s Office & Art Supply, 817 Manatee Ave. West, in Bradenton. Online advanced ticket sales end at 10 p.m. EST, Nov. 30, 2017, and in-person ticket sales end at 5 p.m. EST, Nov. 30, 2017. Last year’s Bradenton Blues Festival was at capacity. Organizers encourage fans to purchase tickets in advance. Food and drink will be available for purchase.
The Bradenton Blues Brunch, hosted by Urology Partners, is Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, at Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk. Check in begins at 10:30 a.m. A limited number of tickets are available for $50 and include a three-course, seated and served meal created by award-winning Chef Paul Mattison. Tickets may be purchased online at BradetntonBluesFestival.org. Advanced ticket sales end at 10 p.m. EST, Nov. 30, 2017. Last year’s Bradenton Blues Brunch was at capacity. Organizers encourage fans to purchase tickets in advance.
The Bradenton Blues Weekend is produced by Realize Bradenton, a nonprofit organization that brings people together to create a vibrant and prosperous downtown area for residents, visitors, and businesses.
Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that brings people together to create a vibrant and prosperous Bradenton area. For more information visit: RealizeBradenton.com.
Produced by Realize Bradenton, the Bradenton Blues Festival is a weekend concert featuring top blues musicians on the award-winning Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton. Proceeds from the Bradenton Blues Festival support Realize Bradenton’s youth, art, and music programs that are free to the community, including the “Blues in the Schools” education program.