Entertainment

‘Gritty, powerful’ Joe Louis Walker to play at Blues Fest

The Bradenton Blues Festival is among the events that have a big economic impact on Manatee County.
The Bradenton Blues Festival is among the events that have a big economic impact on Manatee County. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Blues insiders call him “JLW.”

NPR Music once wrote of him, “Powerful, soul-stirring, fierce and gritty.”

But local fans of bluesman Joe Louis Walker can now brag that the artist is scheduled to be in Bradenton as one of the headliners of the sixth annual Bradenton Blues Festival, whose lineup was announced Wednesday.

Besides Walker, musicians slated to perform at the main Bradenton Blues Festival on Dec. 2 include Curtis Salgado, Sugar Blue, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Nick Moss Band, Vanessa Collier, Sean Chambers Band and Brody Buster.

Chef Paul Mattison of Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk approached us and asked how he could support the bluesfest.We came up with the idea to have a culinary dining experience as part of this year’s Blues Brunch.

Johnette Isham, Realize Bradenton

The Bradenton Blues Festival, as well as the other weekend events, takes place on or near the Bradenton Riverwalk.

The weekend kicks off with a free show for the community, called the Blues Appetizer concert, on Dec. 1. The free community show will feature Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones and TC Carr & Bolts of Blue.

The weekend wraps up with the Blues Brunch on Dec. 3, featuring local favorites Damon Fowler and Matt Walker.

Several things new for 2017

Although the Blues Brunch is not new, having a “musical and culinary experience” during it is new, said Johnette Isham of Realize Bradenton, the local nonprofit that produces the blues festival.

“Chef Paul Mattison of Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk approached us and asked how he could support the Blues Fest,” Isham said. “We came up with the idea to have a culinary dining experience as part of this year’s Blues Brunch.”

For $50, Blues Brunch guests this year will get a three-course, seated and served meal created by Mattison that will rise to the level of the music in its creativity, Isham said.

Also new this year will be a craft beer garden, which is an idea that blues fans themselves suggested and Realize Bradenton adopted, Isham said.

“Each year, within two weeks of the festival, we send an electronic survey to attendees, our vendors, volunteers and to sponsors asking them to rate the festival and one of the points that came up this year was more craft beer,” Isham said.

Darwin Brewing Company, Motorworks Brewing and 3 Keys Brewing and Eatery will all be involved in the beer garden, said Isham, who added that the ratings for the 2016 festival, gleaned from the surveys, was 4.65 out of a possible 5, among the best ever.

More than 3,000 people from 32 states and nine foreign countries attended the 2016 festival, Isham added.

Richard Dymond: 941-745-7072, @RichardDymond

If you go

What: Sixth annual Bradenton Blues Festival Weekend

When: Blues Appetizer free concert 6-9 p.m. Dec. 1, featuring Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones and TC Carr & Bolts of Blue; Bradenton Blues Festival, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 2, featuring, in order, Sean Chambers Band, Vanessa Collier, Nick Moss Band, Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band, Sugar Blue, Curtis Salgado and Joe Louis Walker. Brody Buster plays between sets; Bradenton Blues Brunch, featuring Damon Fowler and Matt Walker, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 3.

Where: Blues Appetizer and Bradenton Blues Festival on Bradenton Riverwalk; Bradenton Blues Brunch at Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk

Tickets: Bradenton Blues Festival, $35 in advance; $50 at the gate (cash only); $30 per person for groups of 10 or more; $20 for students with student ID; $10 for children, ages 5-12; Children age 4 and younger attend free, One hundred reserved, front-of-stage seats are available for $100 per person. Bradenton Blues Brunch, $50 per person. Advanced tickets are available online at bradentonbluesbestival.org and at Keeton’s Office & Art Supply, 817 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton. Advance sales end 10 p.m. Nov. 30 and in person sales end at 5 p.m. Nov. 30.

Information: 941-621-6471, bradentonbluesfestival.org.

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