New music festival in Lakewood Ranch

New music festival in Lakewood Ranch aims to 'keep the legacy' of Bradenton Blues Festival

Disappointed Bradenton Blues Festival won’t return this year? A new Lakewood Ranch music festival will feature “blues artists from around the world.”

Jimmy Geurts

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Soon after the announcement that one of Sarasota-Manatee’s largest annual music festivals will not return this year, a new event featuring the former festival’s artistic director has been announced.

The inaugural Lakewood Ranch Blues Festival will take place 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 7 at Waterside Park in Lakewood Ranch’s Sarasota County development Waterside Place, according to a press release. The new event comes after last month’s announcement that the Bradenton Blues Festival, which took place for 12 years at Bradenton’s Riverwalk (and, during the pandemic, LECOM Park) would be canceled.

Entertainment company Independent Jones, whose president is Morgan Bettes Angell, and Paul E. Benjamin will partner on the Lakewood Ranch Blues Festival. Benjamin was the artistic director of the Bradenton Blues Festival that was produced by nonprofit organization Realize Bradenton, whose founding director Johnette Isham died last year.

“It was important to us to keep the legacy that was created by Johnette and Realize Bradenton alive,” Benjamin said in a statement. “Morgan Bettes Angell and I have teamed up to create a new festival: The Lakewood Ranch Blues Festival. After looking at a number of places we decided that Lakewood Ranch was the best place to host the event, which will draw in blues fans from across the world.”

“The blues are like coming home for me,” Bettes Angell said in a statement. “The Bradenton Blues Festival was the first festival I was a part of producing. Now we’re excited to bring a world-class festival to Lakewood Ranch.”

“The blues are like coming home for me,” Bettes Angell said in a statement. “The Bradenton Blues Festival was the first festival I was a part of producing. Now we’re excited to bring a world-class festival to Lakewood Ranch.”

Over a decade, Bradenton Blues Festival expanded to an event that stretched as long as three days and attracted attendees not only from throughout Florida, but other states and countries as well. It also featured a lineup of internationally touring blues acts ranging from established veterans to rising stars such as Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, who played the 2018 festival and visited Manatee High School as part of the Blues in the Schools program before winning a Grammy and opening for The Rolling Stones and Vampire Weekend.

Lakewood Ranch Blues Festival’s own lineup of acclaimed blues musicians, including Grammy-nominated and Blues Music Award-winning artists, will feature Danielle Nicole, Vanessa Collier, Kat Riggins, Monster Mike Welch, Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88’s, Dylan Triplett and Melody Angel. The festival will also offer food and craft vendors, interactive activities and an outdoor setting, with Kingfisher Lake next to the festival.

Tickets will go on sale soon and cost $75 advance and $90 day of, with a limited number of VIP tickets, according to the press release. Tickets will be sold online at lakewoodranchbluesfestival.com, where those interested can also sign up to receive updates including lineup announcements, exclusive food and drink releases, and more.

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