The 3rd Annual Bradenton Blues Festival put on by Realize Bradenton was the best of the fests so far! National musicians coming in from all over to play, a beautiful sunny day on the river and a crowd of around 4,000 gave it everything it needed for success!
Local bluesman Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones kicked the music off at 11:00 for the early birds. EG Kight was second in the line-up and did not disappoint the crowd. They loved her and the energy level was high! Coming up next was Samantha Fish and her band. I had known of Samantha through her connection to guitarist Mike Zito who she had just toured Europe with. I had not experienced her playing live and I was blown away! She had the crowd in her hand, playing a mix of blues and rock, she is a force to be reckoned with!
Billie Branch and the Sons of Blues played a great set of hardcore blues and Billie plays a mean harmonica. Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials had people out of their seats and dancing! They were a crowd favorite! Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers played some great guitar driven instrumentals including closing with the National Anthem ala Hendrix. In between acts guitarist Dave Muskett kept the music going for the crowd who sat around him.
Grammy nominee and respected blues woman Marcia Ball closed out the show. She has a great band that included guest sax player Jimmy Carpenter, who has played with a who’s who of New Orleans musicians including Dr. John. People had come to the festival from out of state just to see Ms. Ball, she has a loyal following of blues aficionados.
Bradenton had a great idea starting the Blues Festival and hope it continues to grow! It’s great for our economy and for “Friendly City!”
All photos by Rock the Lens / Vicky Sullivan