The Bradenton Blues Festival is back with an all-star lineup of acclaimed blues acts. Southern-inspired cuisine, craft beverages, and an array of vendors will complement the live music to create a comfortable, family-friendly experience in the park-like setting at the Bradenton Riverwalk.
(Bradenton, FL) — Now in its third year, the Bradenton Blues Festival showcases the nation’s most inspired blues artists and groups. Presented in a park-like setting alongside the beautiful Manatee River at Bradenton’s Riverwalk, this family-friendly festival, happening on December 6, offers a laid-back, good-time ambience.
This year, blues fans will also be treated to some down-home, Southern-style cuisine served up by the region’s top restaurants, including Ortygia, Yachtsea Grille, SOMA Creekside, Cedar Reef Fish Camp, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, and Hickory Hollow.
“Chef Rov Avila at Yachtsea Grille will prepare his take on headliner Marcia Ball’s ‘Emergency Chicken Gumbo,’” says Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton, the organizing force behind the festival. “Attendees can also look forward to items like shrimp and grits, bayou mac-n-cheese, mangrove snapper tacos, fried green tomatoes, and blackened gator chowder—a local favorite!”
Isham adds that Pop Craft, a company that creates whole food-based frozen confections, will sweeten things up, along with Cedar Reef, who will be serving their famous Key Lime Crème Brûlée. Darwin Brewing Company’s limited-edition Bradenton Blues Festival craft brew will be on tap, along with several other options for beer drinkers. A variety of fine wines will also be available to complement the southern-inspired cuisine. (Please see list of participating restaurants and food vendors at the bottom of this release.)
“Although many of our musicians are from around the nation, the festival is deeply rooted in the local community,” says Isham. “We rely on many area businesses, which are a vital part of this festival—both as sponsors, vendors and contractors. We see it as one, big extended family of blues musicians and blues lovers. We’re putting on a party and inviting the whole family! It’s the best party of the year, and we like doing it right.”
The 2014 Bradenton Blues Festival’s all-star lineup includes veteran singer and songwriter Marcia Ball, the double-edged guitar dynamics of Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers, the rollicking Lil’ Ed & the Blue Imperials, multiple Grammy nominee Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues, young whirlwind Samantha Fish, "Georgia Songbird" EG Kight, local stars Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones with harmonica virtuoso Dennis Gruenling; and refined finger-style blues guitarist Dave Muskett, who will entertain audiences between the major acts. Proceeds from the festival support Realize Bradenton’s free youth, art, and music outreach programs.
Gates open at 10 a.m. The music starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Tickets 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. A limited number of reserved front row seats are available for $75 (chairs included). For the first time, tickets are available at Keeton’s Office & Art Supply, 817 Manatee Ave West, 941-747-2995. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.BradentonBluesFestival.org. To view festival video online, visit www.bit.ly/bradblues.
Participating Restaurants and Vendors
This restaurant in the Village of the Arts features authentic Sicilian and Mediterranean fusion-style cuisine. Chef Guy is well known for serving Monzù cuisine, a hybrid of Sicilian-French cooking that dates back to Napoleon’s time. Menu: Sicilian Chili, Chocolate Pâté.
The nautical-themed eatery and bar, situated along the Bradenton Riverwalk, serves simple but creative food, specializing in steaks and fresh seafood. Menu: Bayou Mac-n-cheese, Polynesian Pork Shanks, and Chicken Sausage Gumbo (inspired by Marcia Ball’s gumbo recipe).
This downtown Bradenton restaurant, owned and operated by Chef David Shiplett, serves “southern-style with a California attitude” cuisine. Menu: Mangrove Snapper and Short Rib Tacos, Crispy Calamari Salad, and Local Fried Green Tomatoes.
Cedar Reef Fish Camp
Chef owner Dean Donnelly prides himself in creating fresh, made-from-scratch entrees with inspired flavor at an affordable price. Menu: Shrimp n Grits, Blackened Gator Chowder, Mini Key Lime Crème Brûlée.
Anna Maria Oyster Bar
Anna Maria Oyster Bar's coastal- and American-inspired menu showcases traditional favorites, including fresh seafood, pasta, soups and salads. Menu: Fish-n-chips.
Ranked third best barbecue by USA Today, this family-owned restaurant specializes in Virginia and North Carolina-style barbecue that’s smoked for more than 24 hours using imported hickory wood. Menu: Deep Fried BBQ Ribs, Pulled Pork Sliders, Loaded Yucca.
Pop Craft prides itself in being a healthy alternative to traditional processed frozen treats, using only the best, locally sourced whole foods to create delicious frozen confections.
Darwin Brewing Company
Darwin Brewing Company combines modern techniques and equipment with ancient traditions and ideas in creating artisan brews influenced by the flavors and culture of South America's Andean region. The Bradenton Blues Brew is an authentic German Pilsner—light, clean, and crisp. Made in Bradenton by Darwin Brewing Company.
This burger joint, located just south of Bradenton (hence the S.O.B. name), offers innovative burger combinations with a touch of humor. Using all-Angus patties and fresh, simple ingredients, chef-owner Justin Swisher prides himself in serving "burgers with an attitude." Menu: The VooDoo Burger and homemade French fries.
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