Grammy nominee Sophie B. Hawkins will headline the concert, which also features finalists from “The Voice” and “American Idol.” The festival benefits the Gulf Shore Animal League, Manatee County’s TNR partner in No-Kill.
BRADENTON – Several nationally-known artists will converge on Bradenton’s Tarpon Pointe Grill & Tiki Bar November 9 to perform at the 1st Annual Pussycat Festival, a benefit for Manatee County’s Gulf Shore Animal League.
Sophie B. Hawkins, who exploded in the 1990s with two huge hits and a Grammy nomination, will headline the show. She will be joined by Beverly McClellan, “The Voice” finalist from 2011; Diane Ward, an award-winning singer/songwriter from Hollywood, Fl., whose music is featured on numerous films and reality shows; Melissa McGhee, a top 12 contestant on American Idol’s Season 5; Twinkle Schascle Yochim, one of Sarasota’s most prolific and respected live performers; and Passerine, a popular traditional folk band with a contemporary twist.
The festival will raise money for the Gulf Shore Animal League (GSAL), an all-volunteer nonprofit group that provides most of Manatee County’s services for feral and free-roaming cats and is considered the county’s primary TNR (trap-neuter-return) partner in its effort to become No-Kill.
“We’re delighted that artists of this caliber are part of this event,” said Audrey Garrison, GSAL’s executive director. “We’re honored that they’re supporting the life-saving, community-enhancing work that GSAL does.”
Hawkins had two monster hits in the 1990s: “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover,” which climbed to No. 5 on the Billboard Charts in 1992, and “As I Lay Me Down,” which reached No. 6 in 1995. She was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1993. Hawkins left Sony Music in 1999 over creative differences and has since released five albums and continued touring as an independent artist. Her current projects include a play based on the life of Janis Joplin that has received rave reviews.
McClellan, who won over millions of Americans with her nationally-televised live performances on “The Voice,” continues to tour regularly. Ward’s music has been featured on MTV’s “Sorority Life,” Lifetime’s “Angel’s Eyes,” HBO’s “Blindsided,” Starz’ “Crash” (based on the Academy Award winning movie), and “Calloused Hands” to be shown in November at the London Latin American Film Festival. McGhee, based in Tampa, is resuming her music career after lying low for several years following her American Idol experience. Yochim regularly opens for rock heroes like the Marshall Tucker Band and Ambrosia, and Passerine has earned recognition at numerous folk festivals.
Manatee was the first county in Florida to pass a resolution in support of No-Kill, which is a commitment not to euthanize healthy cats and dogs merely because of space limitations. GSAL’s focus on controlling feral cat populations through TNR (trap-neuter-return), a Community Bottle Baby program, and a Feline Foster program has helped increase the county’s “save rate” for cats from less than 25 percent in 2009 to more than 90 percent this year. GSAL has also been instrumental in reducing the number of cats brought to Manatee’s public shelter by more than 33 percent.
The Pussycat Festival is 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, November 9, at the Tarpon Pointe Grill & Tiki Bar, 801 Riverside Dr. E., Bradenton. The venue offers one of the area’s best views of the Manatee River and rests near the end of Bradenton’s award-winning new Riverwalk.
Admission to The Pussycat Festival is $20 (children under 12 admitted free). Tickets are available at the door, or online at www.gsalinc. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs; coolers will not be allowed. The Pussycat Festival will also feature a Chinese Auction and silent raffle.
Sponsors include Bright House Networks, the Sandbar/Mar Vista/Beach House trio of restaurants owned by Ed Chiles, Beach Veterinary Clinic, Millennium Insurance & Investment Group, Neal Communities, The Nolan Group Inc., Pet Supermarket, Quality Plumbing, Visual Harmony Productions, Daugherty Media Strategies, Pine Avenue Restoration, Jill & Scott Clulow, Ken & Linda Slavin, Bradenton Small Animal Hospital, The Islander, Kindness Animal Clinic, River Landings Animal Clinic, Budweiser-Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Helm Vault Services, Air & Energy, and John and Rebecca Neal.
For more information, including ticket sales, go to www.gsalinc.org. To arrange an interview with GSAL or one of the Pussycat Festival’s featured performers, contact Festival Coordinator Christine Hawes at 941-780-3046 or email@example.com.