Musician Kenny Neal headlines the Bradenton Blues Festival, Dec. 7.

The Bradenton Blues Festival, presented by Realize Bradenton, has been blazing the blues along the Riverwalk since 2012. And 2019 will no doubt continue the tradition of sold-out fests.

So, it’s not too early to get your tickets for the event, which includes not only a day filled with music, Saturday, Dec. 7, but a free “Blues Appetizer” concert Friday, Dec. 6, and a Blues Brunch, Sunday, Dec. 8. Downtown Bradenton will be hopping.

A full line-up of bands is set for the fest, including headliner Kenny Neal, who’s been nominated for both a Grammy and a Blues Music Award and played here during the inaugural fest. Other blues stars taking the stage include Toronzo Cannon, Biscuit Miller, the Duke Robillard Band, Annika Chambers, Chicago Blues icon and Blues Hall of Famer John Primer and Blues Foundation International Blues Challenge Best Unsigned Band winner Zac Harmon. Nashville Blues Challenge finalist Angela Easley will play between sets.

Annika Chambers

Realize Bradenton, the nonprofit that produces the festival, uses proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales to produce youth, art and music education programs that are free to the community. Case in point: “Blues in the School” Dec. 6, when musician Easley will visit Manatee High School to perform and talk about her experiences as a young performer with students. Art Tripaldi, editor of Blues Music Magazine, will also teach a blues history component.

Toronzo Cannon

The “Blues Appetizer” concert on the Riverwalk features International Blues Hall of Famer Rusty Wright Band and Oregon Music Hall of Famer Duffy Bishop Band. And the Blues Brunch, hosted by Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk, features national touring band The Divebombers.

Gates open for the main event Dec. 7 at 10 a.m., with music commencing at 11 a.m. and continuing through 8 p.m. that day. For festival tickets ($45 for adults, $20 for students and $10 for children 5-12, with free admission for those 4 and under), go to bradentonbluesfestival.org.  

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