If you like your music homegrown and low-tech, Bradenton’s Village of the Arts is the place to be this weekend.
The village is hosting the first Bradenton Cigar Box Guitar Festival on Friday and Saturday. The main instrument of choice will be hand-made guitars with actual cigar boxes as their bodies. Synthesizers and effects pedals will likely be in very short supply.
The whole festival is free. It gets going at 6 p.m. Friday. Tenth Avenue West will be closed to traffic between 10th and 12th streets. Steve Arvey and Matthew Richie get the music going at 6 p.m., followed by David Smash at 8 p.m. At 10 p.m., Koko Ray and Arvey finish up the evening at Motorworks Brewing, 1014 Ninth St. W. Restaurants in the village will be open for business, but additional vendors (Atomic Cat Ice Cream, Avocado Gypsy, Split-Fire Grill and others) will set up booths as well. You’ll need to get a wristband (which will cost $1 or $2 — the price hadn’t been set on Wednesday afternoon) to buy food and beverages from the vendors.
On Saturday, 10th Avenue will be open again. and the vendors will be gone. But the shops, restaurants and galleries in the village will all be open, and Arvey, Richie and RB Stone will perform at venues around the village, including Ortygia Restaurant, The Dude and Mary’s Art of Life & Music, 11th St. Gallery, Jerk Dog Records and Firestone Gallery.
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You probably know some of the festival performers if you pay attention to the local music scene. One you may not be familiar with is Richie, who’s something of a cigar box guitar heavyweight. He’s considered a founder of the Ozark Black Hills country stomp style of music and has performed at cigar box music festivals around the South. He also went to the International Blues Competition in Memphis where he represented the Wichita Blues Society.
Details: Feb. 9-10, Village of the Arts (10th Avenue West around 12th Street, and surrounding area), Bradenton. 6 p.m.-midnight Friday, 1-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. villageofthearts.com/events.