Local Events

Pickin' Picnic returns to Bradenton

Pickin' Picnic has always focused on home-grown music from the Bradenton area. This year, though, the headliner is a band that draws crowds around the country.

Have Gun, Will Travel is scheduled to hit the stage at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on Bradenton's Riverwalk, capping a day full of music, craft beer and food.

Having HGWT as a headliner doesn't disturb the local focus of the event, though, since the band's based here and its members graduated from Manatee High School.

But their albums have spent months on the CMJ music charts, been reviewed enthusiastically by NPR and been featured on such national TV shows as "The Good Wife."

They may be the most famous band that's ever appeared at the Pickin' Picnic, organizers say, but their show is just one part of what's shaping up to be one of biggest and best in the four-year history of the event. Music is just one element.

"We'll have food trucks and our Food Truck War from 2 to 3 p.m.," said Jeremy Piper, the communications manager for Realize Bradenton, which organized the Pickin' Picnic. "We'll have craft breweries, and the brew masters will be on hand so that beer aficionados can talk to them about the brewing process, about what goes into their beers, and which beers would pair with food from the food trucks."

The Food Truck War presents the cooks in the trucks with a mystery ingredient, revealed at the last minute that they have to use in as part of a dish. (It was avocado last year.) A panel of four local judges picks the winner.

About 3,000 people have attended each of the previous for Pickin' Picnics -- even last year, when it rained for part of the day -- and Piper said that the strength of the music lineup and increased social media activity lead Realize Bradenton to expect even more this year.

Have Gun, Will Travel isn't the only band on the schedule that's nationally known. Hymn for Her, a great quirky, rootsy duo that travels all over the world, is slated to play at 4:15 p.m. (The members of Hymn for Her. Wayne Waxing and Lucy Tight, say they're based in the Airstream trailer and that they live on the road, seem to spend the bulk of their time in the Tampa Bay area.)

Here's the entire music lineup for this year's Pickin' Picnic. It's all free, as always.

3 p.m.: Chasing Jonah

4:15 p.m.: Hymn for Her

5:30 p.m.: The Dram

6:45 p.m.: Lions After Dark

8:30 p.m.: Have Gun, Will Travel

That's not all the great free music on the Riverwalk this weekend. From 6-9 p.m. Friday, Realize' Bradenton's Music in the Park series at the Riverwalk Amphitheater features two of the Tampa Bay area's best folkies, Geri X and Rebekah Pulley.

Details: 2 p.m. May 23, Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion, 452 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Tickets: Free. Information: 941-621-647, realizebradenton.com/pickin_picnic_2015.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.