BRADENTON -- After more than a year of planning, the inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival is beginning to rock Riverwalk today.
Grammy Award nominee Ruthie Foster headlines a first-rate lineup that includes Louisiana Music Hall of Fame inductee Kenny Neal and super group Southern Hospitality, which is led by Bradenton Beach resident Damon Fowler.
Dave "Biscuit" Miller, Johnny Sansone, Homemade Jamz, the Steve Arvey Horn Band with Henry Lawrence, also a pair of local favorites, and Ben Prestage round out the lineup.
In addition to the live music along the Manatee River, there's an array of food, drink and art vendors.
Tickets are $30, cash only, and ATMs are available.
Attendees are asked to bring a nonperishable food item or canned good to the Blues Appetizer and Bradenton Blues Festival to help donate food items to Meals on Wheels of Manatee County.
After the Bradenton Blues Festival ends at 8 p.m. Saturday there's the official after-party featuring acclaimed Tampa blues man Sean Chambers at Tarpon Pointe Grille & Tiki Bar, the popular eastern anchor of Riverwalk that celebrated its first anniversary in July.
Blues Festival schedule
Steve Arvey Horn Band featuring Henry Lawrence: 11-11:40 a.m.
Bradenton area blues man Steve Arvey has teamed up with local hero Henry Lawrence, the superb soul singer who earned three Super Bowl rings and made two Pro Bowl appearances while playing with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders.
Homemade Jamz: 11:55 a.m. to 12:55 p.m.
Ryan, Kyle and Taya Perry are teenage siblings who play rocking blues.
Southern Hospitality: 1:10-2:10 p.m.
Bradenton Beach resident and Blind Pig Records artist Damon Fowler recently joined forces with fellow Florida guitarist/vocalist JP Soars and Memphis-based keyboardist/singer Victor Wainwright to form one of the most in-demand groups on the blues festival circuit.
Johnny Sansone: 2:25-3:25 p.m.
The New Orleans-based harmonica player and vocalist offers plenty of emotional punch as a performer while also excelling as a songwriter.
Dave "Biscuit" Miller: 3:40-4:40 p.m.
A superbly funky bassist and outstanding showman, Miller has become a favorite at Aces Live in Bradenton with songs ranging from the funky double entendre "Butter My Biscuits" to the somber, soulful "Never Seen it Coming."
Kenny Neal: 4:55-6:05
Baton Rouge swamp blues master has been elating audiences since the 1970s with his explosive guitar licks, hot harp and potent vocals.
Ruthie Foster: 6:20-7:35
Grammy Award nominate singer's latest album "Let it Burn" finds Foster putting her own glorious vocal stamp on songs ranging from the Johnny Cash classic "Ring of Fire" to Adele's recent smash "Set Fire to the Rain."
Ben Prestage: performs between acts
One-man-band who grew up near the Everglades sings, plays finger-style guitar, harmonica, banjo, lap-steel, fiddle, resonator guitar and foot-drums.
For interviews and more information: bradenton.com/weekend.
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057.Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.