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The Welch-Leadbetter Connection

 The Bradenton Blues Festival may not be taking place along Bradenton’s Riverwalk until December, but based on the pace of ticket sales last year, it’s best to place your orders early.

The festival just announced its 2018 lineup—and also pointed out that the December event sold out well before Thanksgiving last year. Let that be a warning to blues fans.

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Mr. Sipp

Taking the stage Saturday, Dec. 1 will be seven-time 2018 Blues Music Award nominee The Welch-Leadbetter Connection, along with 2016 Blues Music Award Best New Artist Debut winner Mr. Sipp, 2008 International Blues Challenge runner-up Shakura S’Aida, four-time W.C. Handy Blues Award-nominated artist Chris Cain, and winner of 14 awards in four different countries, Harper and Midwest Kind. Nineteen-year-old 2015 R&B Hall of Fame Robert Johnson Rising Star Award winner Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, singer-songwriter-musician Kelley Hunt, and 15-year-old local guitarist and singer-songwriter Trey Wanvig are performing as well.

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Chris Cain

Ingram, by the way, will be visiting Manatee High School Nov. 30 to discuss his experience as a young musician with students—part of the fest’s “Blues in the Schools” outreach program. Art Tripaldi, editor of Blues Music Magazine, will teach a blues history component.

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Shakura S'Aida

Nov. 30 is also the date for the free “Blues Appetizer” concert on the Riverwalk, featuring the Bridget Kelly Band and local fave Memphis Rub Band. And the Bradenton Blues Brunch, hosted Dec. 2 by Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk, features 2010 Grammy-nominated Bryan Lee.

The festival, presented by BMO Harris Bank, opens its gates Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the gate (if available), $20 for students and $10 for children ages 5-12. (Those 4 and under are free.) For advanced ticket sales, visit bradentonbluesfestival.org. General admission tickets may also be purchased in person at Keeton’s Office & Art Supply, 817 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton.

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