The inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival, slated for December 1, 2012, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., at the redesigned Riverwalk, along the Manatee River in downtown Bradenton, will feature some of the top blues acts in the country. In fact three of the festival’s artists won top honors at the 33rd Annual Blues Music Awards in Memphis on May 10, including Ruthie Foster (Koko Taylor Award for Traditional Blues Female); Dave “‘Biscuit” Miller (Best Instrumentalist on Bass); and Johnny Sansone (Song of the Year).
With national touring acts like this, organizers are expecting that tickets will sell out well in advance of the festival. Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton, suggests that blues music fans should purchase tickets during these time-limited specials.
Buy a ticket online by June 30 for $25; as an added bonus, ticket recipients will receive three issues of the Blues Revue magazine and a blues music CD (a $17.50 value).
Group sales are also available; for 10 tickets recipients receive a 20 percent discount or a $50 savings. Group ticket holders are also eligible for the Blues Revue special valued at $175. Details are on the website.
For tickets and general information, visit www.BradentonBluesFestival.org.
About the Artists
Ruthie Foster can burn down any stage with her combustible blend of soul, blues, rock, folk and gospel. Her astonishing voice has earned her a long array of awards. Foster collaborates on stage and on recordings with a diverse list of artists, including Warren Haynes, Big Head Todd, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Bibb and Paul Thorn. She’s a regular favorite at an equally diverse list of festivals, including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Monterey Blues Festival, Merlefest and the Kate Wolf Festival.
Kenny Neal was born in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge. He began playing music at a young age, learning the basics from his father, singer and blues harmonica master, Raful Neal. Kenny is known as a modern swamp-blues master and multi-instrumentalist, drawing musically from the sizzling sounds of his native Louisiana.
Dave “Biscuit” Miller
Raised by his grandmother in the south side of Chicago, Dave “Biscuit” Miller was born into the blues. Now based in Indianapolis, singer-bassist Miller projects overtones of blues, funk and soul. According to DownBeat magazine: “He’s a real crowd-pleaser, quick with sensual come-ons, as in the metaphor-feast, ‘Butter My Biscuits,’ and the dreamy, tender-hearted ‘Blow A Kiss.'”
The New Orleans-based harmonica player and vocalist Johnny Sansone brings his music to life with his robust voice and instrumental prowess. His original compositions have won him numerous awards. His show has been called “raw and dangerous.” Big City Blues says of this phenomenal performer: “You would swear the harmonica is crying real tears.”
Southern Hospitality’s natural chemistry on stage offers a powerful and dynamic showcase of the Blues. Blind Pig’s Damon Fowler has joined forces with fellow Florida guitarist/singer JP Soars and WildRoots Record’s Memphis-based piano player/singer Victor Wainwright. Damon, Victor and J.P. will leave no corner of the blues unexplored and no fan of the blues unhappy.
Aside from being the “Youngest Blues Band in America,” Homemade Jamz is on a remarkable journey. The three band members, Ryan, Kyle, and Taya Perry—all siblings spanning from 13 to 19—have released their third record, “The Game,” which is full of sturdy, rocking blues. The album highlights the different personalities and unique styles of each member while giving them all moments to shine. This inspired band is simple, lean, and refreshing with an amazingly unique and mature sound. “They’ve got a great future ahead.” – B.B. King.
Steve Arvey Horn Band featuring Henry Lawrence
Steve Arvey’s career spans about three decades playing all over the United States, Europe, America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand with some of the toughest critics lauding his talent. Few performers can match Arvey’s showmanship and the joy he brings to the audience. Featured vocalist, Henry Lawrence, three-time Super Bowl Oakland Raider star, commands the same attention on stage as he did on the football field. Lawrence began singing as a child in school, in church, and as a migrant farm worker.
From an electrified mix of swamp and delta blues comes the one-man-band, Ben Prestage, who lights up any stage with his homemade guitars and drums. Prestage’s inspired approach to instrumentation (finger-style guitar, harmonica, banjo, lap-steel, fiddle, resonator guitar, foot-drums, vocals) and his award-winning songwriting have made him one of the foremost blues artists of our time.