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Florida Suncoast Blues Festivals


| Sande Caplin |

Since Woodstock, the music festival has become a staple around the world.  Europe has huge rock festivals like Pink Pop and Rock in Rio.  The U.S. has Coachella, New Orleans Jazz Festival and Lollapoolza just to name a few.  Florida has had a few festivals over the years mostly on the East Coast such as Sunfest in West Palm Beach until recent years.

Over the past several years, the West Coast has finally been “discovered” and is starting to grow with some festivals of it’s own.  St. Petersburg has had the locally known Ribfest for years at Vinoy Park and now that big monster “Live Nation” has come in to Vinoy with the Sunshine Music and Blues Festival.   South in downtown Ft. Myers, the 4th Annual American Vinyl Music Festival is coming on March 28th.  A mix of national and local acts are playing at these festivals.

In our own Sarasota/Bradenton, we have had live music via Thunder By The Bay which isn’t specifically a music festival but the closest thing there is for live rock music lovers.   Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice now all have their own annual Blues Festivals. The Sarasota’s Blues Fest was the first festival in the area started in 1993 by Sarasota resident & concert promoter Barbara Strauss. The festival brought many national artists to Sarasota over the years.

The newest festival to come to our area is Winterfest, located in Lakewood Ranch. It is gearing up again this year on February 28th..   There are smaller fests with some great local talent like the DeSoto Seafood Festival coming up. We are becoming an area known to musicians both local and national, that can come and play for audiences who truly appreciate their artistry.

As wonderful as it is to now have some music festivals around the area, please continue to support local live music! We need our musical community to continue to flourish and grow and that cannot happen without supporting the great local talent we have right here!

Rick Derringer

Chris Robinson 2015 Sunshine Music & Blues Fest

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