Sold-out last year, the festival is back with a lineup of nationally acclaimed blues artists.
(Bradenton, FL) Bradenton’s getting ready for the blues—again. Fresh from the success of last year’s critically acclaimed inaugural festival, the 2013 Bradenton Blues Festival, a family-friendly day of top blues stars and inspired food and art, returns to downtown Bradenton’s Riverwalk, December 7, 2013. Tickets are $30 in advance; $40 at the gate; $25 per person for groups of 10 or more; $20 for students; and $10 for children, ages 5-12. Children four and under will be admitted free. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.BradentonBluesFestival.org.
“The inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival was the best first-year festival I’ve experienced in 25 years in this business,” says Paul Benjamin, the veteran music festival producer who helped bring last year’s inaugural festival to life. “Based on last year’s success and this year’s outstanding lineup, the 2013 festival promises to be incredible!”
The 2013 lineup, which was unveiled March 20 at a joint event hosted by the Sarasota and Manatee chambers of commerce, includes the acclaimed young vocalist Shemekia Copeland; the celebrated Eddie Shaw & the Wolfgang; musical siblings Danielle, Kris and Nick Schnebelen of the critically acclaimed Trampled Under Foot; guitarist, singer, and songwriter Anthony Gomes; rising blues star John Nemeth; Mississippi soul-blues man Johnny Rawls; the Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones with Dennis Gruenling band; and soulful, rising blues star, Albert Castiglia.
“This year’s festival features some of the top blues acts in the country—and something for all tastes,” says Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton. “We’ll be wowed by acclaimed veteran Mississippi delta blues masters like Eddie Shaw and Johnny Rawls, and bowled over by such young and gifted blues stars as Trampled Under Foot, John Nemeth and Albert Castiglia, who are putting their own electrifying stamps on contemporary blues music.”
Isham stresses that blues fans should buy tickets early. “We sold more than 3,000 tickets last year within the space of a few months,” says Isham. “If you want to guarantee a seat, it’s best to buy your tickets long before December. We can’t promise we’ll have any seats left at the door.”
Isham adds that an educational initiative will again be a major component of the festival. On Friday, December 6, “Blues in the Schools,” an outreach program at Manatee High School, will feature appearances by selected festival artists, who share their talents and professional advice with area students.
Mary GrandPré, the celebrated Harry Potter illustrator, signed on for a second year to create a limited-edition festival poster. “We’re auctioning the original work to raise funds for Realize Bradenton’s youth music programs,” says Isham. Also on the auction block are “Blue Note” diamond earrings, valued at $3,500 and created for Realize Bradenton by master gemologist and appraiser Tom Seguin. The public is invited to view these creations and make a bid at Suncoast Gems, 4016 Cortez Road West, Suite 1201, in Bradenton. Additional Bradenton Blues Festival merchandise and memorabilia include t-shirts, hats and a handful of last year’s iconic limited-edition poster—all on sale at Keeton’s Office and Art Supply, 817 Manatee Avenue West in downtown Bradenton, and online at a site hosted by Manatee Apparel Graphics at www.manateeapparel.com/realizebradenton/home.
“Dozens of Bradenton-based businesses and organizations are sponsoring this event,” says Isham. “We’re a close-knit family ready to rock our region again with a world-class festival!”
About Realize Bradenton
Realize Bradenton is a non-profit organization that builds community and promotes economic development through collaborative events, strategic partnerships, and interactive strategies. We help make downtown Bradenton one of the best riverfront communities in the country. For more information, visit: www.RealizeBradenton.com.
About the Artists
Although only in her 30s, Shemekia Copeland is already a force to be reckoned with. Copeland’s passion for singing, matched with her huge, blast-furnace voice, gives her music a timeless power and a heart-pounding urgency. She’s opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined at the Chicago Blues Festival, scored critics’ choice awards on both sides of the Atlantic (The New York Times and The Times of London), shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton, and has even performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. Heir to the rich tradition of such soul-drenched divas as Ruth Brown, Etta James and Koko Taylor, the singer was presented with Taylor’s crown at the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival and was crowned the new “Queen of the Blues” by the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. For more info, visit www.shamikacopeland.com.
Eddie Shaw & the Wolfgang
Saxophonist Eddie Shaw has been at the heart of the Chicago music scene since 1957. Shaw’s musical resume includes work with such luminaries as Muddy Waters, Earl Hooker and Otis Rush, as well as arranging tracks for the London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions (which featured Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Ringo Starr and others). Shaw’s greatest claim to fame is the 17 years he spent with the immortal Howlin’ Wolf. When Wolf died in 1976, Shaw kept the “Wolfgang” together as a tribute to the departed leader. The current version of the band includes Lafayette “Shorty” Gilbert on bass (25 years with Shaw) and Eddie’s son, Vaan, considered to be one of the best guitarists on the blues circuit today. For more info, visit www.eddieshawsax.com.
Trampled Under Foot
Musical siblings Danielle, Kris and Nick Schnebelen spring from the rich Kansas City jazz and blues scene and their band, Trampled Under Foot, has quickly become one of the most talked about bands on the blues scene today. Winners of the coveted International Blues Challenge in 2008, the trio has been on the road ever since, thrilling and growing their rabid fan base. Their 2011 CD, “Wrong Side of the Blues,” was hailed by critics as a “powerful and electric blues tour de force.” The Schnebelens are on their way to joining the Allmans, Dickinsons, Brookses and Neals in the ranks of great blues family dynasties. For more info, visit www.tufkc.com.
Hailed for his “blistering guitar licks and vocals that slice like a whiskey-soaked machete,” Canadian-born guitarist, singer, and songwriter Anthony Gomes is a critically acclaimed, chart-topping artist who plays a style of modern electric blues that incorporates elements of rock, soul, R&B, and country. Gomes has won numerous awards and performed with the likes of BB King, Robert Plant, the Doobie Brothers, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Chuck Berry, and George Thorogood. Gomes’ latest recording, “Up 2 Zero,” marks the musician’s full-circle return to high-energy, guitar-driven blues rock and has been named by A1Blues.com as the “best overall CD of the year.” For more info, visit www.anthonygomes.com.
Rising blues star John Nemeth is a singer steeped in the tradition of B.B. King, Ray Charles and Junior Parker, and a harmonica player of riveting intensity and virtuosity. Critics have declared him “hands down the toughest young harp player ever heard,” and his voice “a national treasure.” In the past 10 years, he’s opened for the likes of Robert Cray, Keb Mo’, and Earl Thomas, and has garnered critical acclaim at major music festivals around the world. For more info, visit www.johnnemethblues.com.
Mississippi soul-blues man Johnny Rawls has been wowing crowds with his smoldering vocals and guitar style for more than 30 years. Rawls has done it all throughout his long career, including producing, songwriting, horn arranging, rhythm, lead and bass guitar, keyboard, vocals and background vocals. He was named Best Male Soul Blues Artist by the Blues Foundation and was honored with a Blues Trail Marker on the original site of Mississippi’s legendary Hi Hat Club, sharing that plaque with blues luminaries Tyrone Davis and Little Milton. For more info, visit www.jonnyrawlsblues.com.
Young by blues standards, but with a breadth of live studio and life experience under his belt, Albert Castiglia is set to become a major force on the blues and blues-rock scene. Castiglia left his day job at a Miami welfare office in the 90’s after being discovered and taken under the wing of legendary harmonica player Junior Wells. Castiglia returned to South Florida in 2002 where his soulful growl, stage-scorching guitar solos and unique brand of Delta-blues-inspired rock have earned him steady gigs throughout South Florida and beyond. While Castiglia’s solo career and recordings are packed with nods to his mentor Wells, his sixth and latest CD, “Living the Dream,” is a collection of covers and original songs that take a more introspective look at his blues roots, with references to oil companies, Wall Street bankers and his dealings with the music industry at large. For more info, visit www.albertcastiglia.com.
Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones with Dennis Gruenling
Traditional blues, West Coast and Texas Swing, early rock, country and roots music; Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones run the gamut and bring it all together while consistently delivering originality. Deming’s swinging jump blues style has earned him great respect in the blues world where he has backed such notables as Chicago Pete, Black Tops Johnnie Dyer and the legendary Lazy Lester. Deming is joined by award-winning blues harmonica player Dennis Gruenling, hailed as “one of the baddest, swingingest, most innovative harmonica blowers on the planet.” For more info, visit www.dougdeming.com and www.dennisgruenling.com.