Weekend Planner

Your Top 8 Things to Do: March 1-7

A World of Jazz, the Suncoast Blues Festival, ArtSlam in downtown Bradenton and more.

By Ilene Denton March 1, 2018

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Houston Person, appearing in the 38th Annual Sarasota Jazz Festival.

Image: Gene Martin

38th Sarasota Jazz Festival: A World of Jazz

March 7-10

The 38th annual Sarasota Jazz Festival opens Wednesday night, March 7, with a Jazz Trolley and Pub Crawl featuring over a dozen musicians performing at various downtown Sarasota nightspots. Four concerts starring jazz masters from around the world follow next weekend at the Riverview High Performing Arts Center. Plan your festival here.

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Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones performs at the Suncoast Blues Festival March 3.

Image: Courtesy Photo 

Suncoast Blues Festival

March 3

Singing the blues all day long Saturday at the Sarasota Fairgrounds are Monster Mike Welch and the Mike Ledbetter Band, Chicago guitarist Lurrie Bell, Detroit singer Thornetta Davis, Blues Music Award winner Doug MacLeod, Texas guitarist Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones and guitarist-singer James Armstrong. All that great music for just $30 in advance, $45 day of; check here for details. 

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Stuttgart Ballet principal dancer Friedemann Vogel

Image: Youn Sik Kim

The Sarasota Ballet presents “Dreams of Nature”

March 2-3

Stuttgart Ballet principal dancer Friedemann Vogel brings his star power to the Sarasota Ballet as Oberon for the company premiere of Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream Friday and Saturday at the Van Wezel. Also on the program is another company premiere, David Bintley’s “Still Life” at the Penguin Café.  

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Melba Moore

Melba Moore stars in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

Through April 8

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has a sell-out on its hands with its run of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, starring Tony Award-winning actress Melba Moore. But you’re in luck if you don’t mind really getting into the action—a limited number of onstage café seats are available for purchase. Lady Day is a musical bio of the great chanteuse Billie Holiday as she performs one of her last concerts in a small Philadelphia bar. 

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ArtSlam 2017


March 3

All kinds of interactive arts experiences are yours for the making when 28 teams of students and professional artists take over downtown Bradenton for this annual celebration. Presented by Realize Bradenton.

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Chucho Valdes

Chucho Valdes

March 2-3

The five-time Grammy-winning Cuban pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader presents his brand of Afro-Cuban jazz at the Historic Asolo Theater as part of The Ringling’s New Stages series.  

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Soprano Jennifer Black sings Adalgisa in the Sarasota Opera premiere production of Norma.

Sarasota Opera presents Norma

Opening March 3

Passion, defiance, vengeance among a Druid priest, a Roman official and a temple virgin. What can we say—this is opera, after all, and it’s all there in the Sarasota Opera production of Bellini’s Norma. Opening March 3 with additional performances March 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20 and 24 at the Sarasota Opera House.

New Music New College “It’s Alive: A Monstrous Circus on Frankenstein

March 4

In honor of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the contemporary music series uses elements from composer John Cage’s Circus On to bring together students, faculty, staff and ensemblenewSRQ to create a multimedia presentation across New College’s Koski Plaza and academic center building.  

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2018 Suncoast Blues Festival

Editor’s Pick $30 in advance, $45 at the gate Sarasota Fairgrounds

Featuring Monster Mike Welch/Mike Ledbetter Connection, EG Kight, Lurrie Bell and more.


The Sarasota Ballet presents Dreams of Nature

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Featuring works by Ashton & Bintley.

Visual Art


Free Old Main Street

This sixth annual outdoor public event in downtown Bradenton is a celebration of youth and creativity! Come see dozens of young artists and performers take o...


The Ringling Presents Chucho Valdés

$30, $10 with Student ID Historic Asolo Theater

Part of Ringling's New Stages series, "A World of Music."


Sarasota Opera Presents Norma

Sarasota Opera House

Vincenzo Bellini's Norma premieres on March 3.