It’s 20 years old and it’s brand new.
Giving Hunger the Blues is celebrating its 20th year by moving to a spacious location waterfront location that could make the festival bigger than ever.
It gets going at noon Sunday and keeps going until 9 p.m., right along Sarasota Bay on the grounds of Van Wezel Performing Arts Center.
The new location opens up room for three stages, with continual music all day and into the night.
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The music lineup combines some of the best and most popular bands from the Bradenton-Sarasota area, with at least one nationally known musician — blues guitarist Mark Miller.
If you love live music but you’re not a big blues fan, this is still a great festival for you. There’s a blues emphasis, but this isn’t really a blues festival. The musical styles also include rock, soul and reggae. One band, Ari & the Alibis, describes its sound as a blend of funk, jazz, samba, blues soul and rock.
Besiodes Ari & the Alibis, the bands include Gumbo Boogie featuring Mark “Guitar” Miller, Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio, Jah Movement, RJ Howson, Fogt’s Music All-Stars and Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul featuring the Hellacious Horns.
As the festival’s name implies, there’s a mission behind the good times. Giving Hunger the Blues benefits the Mayor’s Feed the Hungry Program, which last year provided 14,000 meals to people in need, including a lot of children, and the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County, which offers a wide range of services to area women.
If you donate a non-perishable food item at the festival, you get a free T-shirt.