Pickin' Picnic returns to Bradenton's Riverwalk

mclear@bradenton.comMay 22, 2014 

Last May, Realize Bradenton put together the first Pickin' Picnic, a Riverwalk event that brought together some great area bluegrass, folk and Americana bands, and some of Bradenton's best food trucks.

It was supposed to be an annual event, but it was so successful that organizers staged another one just five months later.

About 1,500 people came to each of last year's Pickin' Picnic. This year, the people a Realize Bradenton have made some tweaks that they hope will boost attendance at the first Pickin' Picnic of 2014, which is 2-10 p.m. Sunday.

"We wanted to attract a younger demographic," said Morgan Bettes, an executive associate with Realize Bradenton and one the people who shaped this year's Pickin' Picnic. "And I thought of craft beers. We have these craft breweries opening locally. We wanted to support these breweries, and educate people about craft beer, because as we all know craft beer is a little more expensive than regular beer."

Four craft breweries -- Darwin's and Motorworks from Bradenton, Big Top from Sarasota and 3 Daughters from St. Petersburg -- will be on hand at the Pickin' Picnic. Visitors can get sample tastings, and then buy beers they like.

That's the biggest difference this year, Bettes said. But there's another added element.

"We're going to have a food truck war," she said. "They'll have a secret ingredient that they have to use. And that's from 2 o'clock until 3 o'clock, so it's over in plenty of time for people to enjoy the music."

No matter what extras the festival might add, the music's still going to be the main attraction for most people.

Here's the lineup for this weekend' Pickin' Picnic:

3 p.m.: The Dram -- An Americana six-piece that walks the line between punk and southern rock.

4:15 p.m.: Faceless Bandits -- Three old-school punk rockers who put a spin on bluegrass with rockabilly and punk undertones.

5:30 p.m.: Wild Root -- A soulful funk-rock band led by singer-guitarist Paul Fournier.

6:45 p.m.: The Applebutter Express -- Their infectious blend of country, bluegrass and jam-band grooves has made Apple Butter Express popular in clubs and at festivals around the country.

8:30 p.m.: Thomas Wynn & the Believers -- Voted Orlando's best rock band four years in a row, they're reminiscent of Dylan, the Band and Tom Petty, with a bit of Jennings and Redding thrown in.

Details: 2-10 p.m. May 25, Riverwalk Pavilion, 452 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Tickets: Free. Information: 941-479-2871, realizebradenton.com.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919.

Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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