Classic rock acts dominate the entertainment lineup announced so far for this year's Gulf Coast Rhythm & Ribfest. British boogie rockers Foghat and Southern-tinged 38 Special are among the biggest names set for the three-day event April 12-14 at the Manatee County Fairgrounds in Palmetto.
But there will be plenty of well-known acts to please the nonrockers. There's Grammy-winning R&B singer Fanstasia, who won "American Idol" in its heyday and then starred on Broadway, smooth jazz saxophonist Eric Darius and the gospel funk of Miami's Lee Boys.
That's just the "first round" of headline artists for the festival. More should be announced soon.
This will be the seventh annual edition of the Rhythm & Ribfest. Organizers say it's grown steadily over the years, and now draws about 20,000 people over three days.
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38 Special is known for such hits as "Hold on Loosely" and "Caught Up in You," and is still led by founding members Donnie Van Zant and Don Barnes. Foghat ("Fool for the City," "Slow Ride") now includes only drummer Roger Earl from its classic 1970s lineup.
Fantasia earned sudden fame by winning the 2004 season of "American Idol" and has built a career in film and on stage, including playing herself in a Lifetime movie based on her life, and starring in the hit musical version of "The Color Purple" on Broadway.
The Lee Boys -- three brothers and their nephews -- began as a church group and now infuse their music with funk and R&B, though there's still a strong Christian message.
Darius is a graduate of the University of South Florida in Tampa, and was named Best Debut Artist of the Year by Smooth Jazz News in 2004.
A full schedule will be announced soon. Tickets are $15 April 13-14 and are available at www.gulfcoastribfest.com. Tickets for April 12 are $5 and will be available at the gate only.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear