Over a decade, Bradenton Blues Festival has grown into one of Sarasota-Manatee's biggest annual events, drawing artists and audiences from around the country and globe, and this year is no different, with a lineup of Blues Music Award-winning and nominated musicians.
The 10th annual festival kicks off Friday at LECOM Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates' spring training home in Bradenton. The festival moved there in 2020, after debuting at Bradenton Riverwalk in 2012, due to the larger venue offering greater social distancing amid the pandemic.
Photos: Bradenton Blues Festival 2020
Johnette Isham, executive director of the organization Realize Bradenton that produces the festival, said they're proud to reach the 10th anniversary milestone, and the event's growth over the years.
"In the past decade, 25,000 people from 35 states, 20 foreign countries and 225 zip codes in the state of Florida have experienced downtown Bradenton and enjoyed world-class blues," Isham said.
Saturday's main concert at LECOM Park will feature musicians including Bernard Allison, son of the late blues great Luther Allison and talented performer in his own right, and Latimore, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee known for his No. 1 R&B hit "Let's Straighten It Out." (Another Blues Hall of Famer, Bobby Rush, was initially set to headline this year's festival before his recently announced cancellation.)
Friday's concert will also take place at LECOM Park, featuring Blues Music Award-winning acoustic bluesman Doug MacLeod and soul-blues singer/guitarist Johnny Rawls, as well as Orlando's CeCe Teneal and Soul Kamotion. Soul Blues Female Artist Blues Music Award winner Annika Chambers, who performed at the festival last year, will play the Bradenton Blues Brunch on Sunday at Mattison's Riverwalk Grille.
Here is the year's Bradenton Blues Festival schedule, as well as other local venues that festival performers are set to visit and other related shows (subject to change.)
Bradenton Blues Festival: 4 p.m.; LECOM Park, 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton; $20-$30
4-5 p.m.: CeCe Teneal and Soul Kamotion
The Orlando area band's sound blends blues, funk and soul, with Teneal also known for her Aretha Franklin tribute.
5:20-6:20 p.m.: Johnny Rawls
The soul-blues singer and guitarist scored two Blues Music Awards nominations this year: Soul Blues Male Artist and Album for 2020’s “Where Have All the Soul Men Gone.” He previously won the latter category for his 2018 full-length “I’m Still Around.”
6:40-7:45 p.m.: Doug MacLeod
The acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter is a six-time Blues Music Awards winner, most recently last year in the Acoustic Blues Artist category, as well as Acoustic Blues Album in 2018 for “Break the Chain.” He earned yet another Acoustic Blues Artist nomination earlier this year.
Bradenton Blues Festival: 11 a.m.; LECOM Park; $55-$150
11 a.m.-12:05 p.m.: Terrie Odabi
The California-based vocalist has earned Soul Blues Female Artist Blues Music Award nominations both this and last year. She also earned one in 2017, along with a Best Emerging Artist Album nomination for her full-length “My Blue Soul.”
12:25-1:30 p.m.: Jimmy Carpenter
The saxophonist/singer-songwriter earlier this year won the Instrumentalist – Horns Blues Music Award, a category he’d been nominated for the three consecutive previous years. He’s also toured in the band of blues-rocker Mike Zito, and released his latest album “Soul Doctor” on Zito’s Gulf Coast Records.
1:50-2:55 p.m.: James Armstrong
The guitarist/singer-songwriter’s solo career started in the ‘90s, with his music appearing in the 1994 Michael Keaton and Geena Davis film “Speechless.” He earned two Blues Music Awards nominations in 2001, including Song of the Year, and most recently released 2017’s “Blues Been Good to Me.”
3:15-4:20 p.m.: Dawn Tyler Watson
The Montreal-based singer won the Blues Album of the Year Juno Award – Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys – for her most recent full-length “Mad Love.” She was also nominated for the Instrumentalist – Vocals Blues Music Award last year, and won the International Blues Challenge in 2017.
4:40-5:55 p.m.: Latimore
The singer rose to fame in the ‘70s for his albums on Miami’s Glades label and songs such as 1974’s “Let’s Straighten It Out,” which was a No. 1 R&B hit. Latimore and his music have appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and in 2017, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
6:15-7:30 p.m.: Bernard Allison
Son of the famed late blues musician Luther Allison, Bernard made his recording debut at 13 years old playing on a live album of his father’s, and has continued to perform live and record albums ever since, most recently releasing last year’s “Songs from the Road.”
Bradenton Blues Brunch: 10:30 a.m.; Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille, 101 Riverfront Blvd. #120, Bradenton; sold out
11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Annika Chambers
The gospel-inspired singer from Houston won the Soul Blues Female Artist Blues Music Award in 2019, the same year she released her most recent full-length “Kiss My Sass,” earning nominations in the same category this and last year.
Biscuit Miller: Cottonmouth, a restaurant in the Village of the Arts neighborhood near LECOM Park that's also become one of Sarasota-Manatee's top blues venues, will host numerous concerts surrounding the festival, including this kickoff party featuring the two-time Instrumentalist – Bass Blues Music Awards winner. 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2; Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen, 1114 12th St. W., Bradenton; $10 advance, $15 day of; 941-243-3735; cottonmouthsoul.com
Jimmy Carpenter Band: 7 p.m. Thursday; Englewoods on Dearborn, 362 W. Dearborn St., Englewood; $7; 941-475-7501; englewoodsondearborn.com
Jimmy Carpenter Band: 8 p.m. Friday; The Blue Rooster, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota; $15; 941-388-7539; blueroostersrq.com
Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones: The group from Bradenton that earned a 2019 Blues Blast Music Award nomination for Blues Band plays a Friday night festival afterparty. Devin Neel performs beforehand at 5:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m. Friday; Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen; free; 941-243-3735; cottonmouthsoul.com
Steve Arvey: The Bradenton-based bluesman plays a show that serves as both a Saturday night festival afterparty and birthday celebration for Arvey. 8 p.m. Saturday; Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen; free; 941-243-3735; cottonmouthsoul.com
Dawn Tyler Watson/Jimmy Carpenter Blues Fest Brunch: 11:30 a.m. Sunday; Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen; $20; 941-243-3735; cottonmouthsoul.com
Doug MacLeod: 3 p.m. Sunday; Music Compound, 1751 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota; $15; suncoastblues.org
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This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Bradenton Blues Festival returns to LECOM Park for 10th anniversary