The Bradenton Blues Festival weekend returns to downtown Bradenton, bringing three days of events and acclaimed blues musicians, Dec. 6–8, 2019. Kicking off the blues weekend is the “Blues Appetizer” Concert, a free event, Friday, Dec. 6; followed by the Bradenton Blues Festival, Saturday, Dec. 7; and wrapping up the weekend is the Blues Brunch, Sunday, Dec. 8.
“The Bradenton Blues Festival continues as a destination event, and based on sales trends, we’re projecting to be sold out in early November this year—earlier than ever,” said Holly Eisemann, Events and Creative Services Manager for Realize Bradenton, the nonprofit that produces the annual event. “We have sold out every year, and 2019 will be no different. People travel from across the country and the globe to attend, filling hotels, visiting local businesses, and exploring the unique assets of downtown Bradenton and Manatee County.”
Musicians of national and international acclaim will take the stage on Saturday, including Grammy Nominated and Blues Music Award Winner Kenny Neal, four-time Blues Music Award nominee Toronzo Cannon, two-time Blues Music Award Winner Biscuit Miller, Grammy nominated and multiple Blues Music Award Winner The Duke Robillard Band, U.S. Army veteran and Blues Music Award nominated Annika Chambers, Chicago Blues icon and Blues Hall of Famer John Primer, and Blues Foundation International Blues Challenge Best Unsigned Band winner Zac Harmon. 2016 Nashville Blues Challenge finalist Angela Easley will play between sets.
“We consistently bring real-deal, award-winning talent to the Bradenton Blues Festival stage every year,” said Paul Benjamin, festival artistic director and International Blues Foundation chair. “The spectacular lineup this year is sure to please blues fans and live-music enthusiasts alike. You can’t beat listening to the blues in the December sunshine on the Bradenton Riverwalk.”
The Bradenton Blues Festival is more than just a weekend event. Realize Bradenton, the nonprofit that produces the annual festival, uses proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales to produce youth, art, and music education programs that are free to the community, including “Blues in the Schools.”
“Attendees are giving back to the community by simply purchasing a ticket to attend the Bradenton Blues Festival,” explained Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton. “Festival attendees are thrilled to know that our ‘Blues in the Schools’ program has educated nearly 4,000 students about the history of blues music in the United States.”
“Blues in the Schools” takes place Friday, Dec. 6, when Angela Easley visits Manatee High School to perform and discuss her experience as a young musician with students. Art Tripaldi, Editor of Blues Music Magazine, will teach a blues history component. The program is possible through funding from R.M. Beall, Sr. Charitable Foundation and proceeds from Bradenton Blues Festival ticket sales.
More than 55 sponsors from the 2018 event have already pledged their support to the 2019 Bradenton Blues Festival. “Many of the businesses and organizations that supported the festival last year asked to be part of it again, they recognize that the blues means big business for Bradenton,” says Isham, adding that BMO Harris Bank is the festival’s Presenting Sponsor for the eighth year in a row.
The free “Blues Appetizer” Concert, presented by Mojoe Productions, Inc., is Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, on the Bradenton Riverwalk, and features International Blues Hall of Famer Rusty Wright Band, and Oregon Music Hall of Famer Duffy Bishop Band. Food and drinks will be available for purchase starting at 5 p.m. Tickets are not required for this community concert. Music begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.
The Bradenton Blues Festival, presented by BMO Harris Bank, is Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, 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 available online for $45 for adults; $20 for students; and $10 for children, ages 5–12. Children ages four and under are free. Reserved front-of-stage seats are available for $115 per person. Advanced ticket sales are available online at BradentonBluesFestival.org. General Admission tickets may also be purchased in-person at Keeton’s Office & Art Supply, 817 Manatee Ave. West, in downtown Bradenton. Each online ticket purchase includes a one-year bonus subscription of Blues Music Magazine, a $12.95 value. Blues Music Magazine is delivered in January, April, July, and October each year.
The Bradenton Blues Brunch is Sunday, Dec. 8. Hosted by Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk, featuring the national touring band The Divebombers. Check in begins at 10:30 a.m. A limited number of tickets are available for $55 and include a three-course meal created by award-winning Chef Paul Mattison. Tickets may be purchased online at BradentonBluesFestival.org. The Bradenton Blues Brunch is produced by Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk.
photos from Realize Bradenton