We the Kings are coming home to headline Bradenton Area River Regatta

The fifth annual Bradenton Area River Regatta on Feb. 9 will be a homecoming when it comes to the headline entertainment.

Event organizers announced Tuesday that Bradenton’s own We the Kings will take the main stage in Bradenton beginning at 5:15 p.m. The opening act at 4:30 p.m. will be another Bradenton native, Sam Woolf.

We the Kings are a group of childhood friends that formed while in high school. They include singer/guitarist Travis Clark, guitarist Hunter Thomsen, bassist Drew Thomsen and drummer Danny Duncan.

“It took a lot of people helping to make this come together and we are delighted and excited to have these hometown boys, We the Kings, back in Bradenton for the fifth annual Bradenton Area River Regatta,” said Mike Fetchko, president of ISM USA, the event organizer.

We the Kings released their self-titled debut album in 2007 and reached the national top 100 with “Check Yes Juliet” and “We’ll Be a Dream,” featuring guest vocals by Demi Lovato. Their latest album, “Six”, was released this year.

Headlining in Palmetto near Riverside Park will be the Andy Pursell Band, which launched its career just three years ago and has already played at the Grand ‘Ole Opry among other prestigious venues. The band’s blend of country with a rock edge features originals and cover songs. Pursell was named “Favorite New Country Artists” in 2016 by the Tampa Bay Music Network and has opened for John Michael Montgomery.

“He’s a rising country star on the national scene,” Fetchko said.

Music begins with the future of the music industry courtesy of the Del Couch Music Education Foundation at noon in both Bradenton and Palmetto. Here’s a full list of what’s happening on Feb. 9 on the two stages on either side of the Manatee River.


  • At 1 p.m.: Penny Fountain, an alternative punk band from Palmetto.

  • At 1:45 p.m.: A local favorite in the Trevor Bystrom Band.

  • At 2:45 p.m.: Shaman, an ABBA tribute band.

  • At 4 p.m.: Under the Moon & Friends, a group of seniors at the Manatee School for the Arts.

  • At 4:30: Bradenton’s own Sam Woolf, a 2014 American Idol finalist.

  • At 5 p.m.: We the Kings


  • At 1 p.m.: 301 Travelers, which play a variety of everything from 80s rock to 90s contemporary with some new country and pop thrown into the mix.

  • At 2 p.m. Matt Walden, whose music is known to be a healing source to others from his own personal dealings with life.

  • At 3 p.m.: Brandi Sparks, a Bradenton resident who began performing professionally at the age of 24 and is now focused full time on her musical passion.

  • At 4: p.m.: The Billy Rice Band, a popular local and regional group who have had appearances with such stars as Toby Keith and recently opened for Keith Urban. The band will focus this performance to a George Strait tribute.

  • At 5:15 p.m.: The Andy Pursell Band.

Zambelli Fireworks returns to cap off the day’s events at sunset.

A variety of shows and entertainment will fill the day on both sides of the river and the major change comes on the water. Regatta fans asked for more racing and more racing is coming. Fetchko said in addition to Formula 2 racing, the Powerboat Super League will be bringing its Formula 3 racing division as well.

“We are powering up for the regatta on land and water,” Fetchko said. “Manatee County, Bradenton, Palmetto and the Manatee River have become the premier destination for the Powerboat Super League to kick off their seasons.”

Related stories from Bradenton Herald

Breaking News/Real Time Reporter Mark Young began his career in 1996 and has been with the Bradenton Herald since 2014. He has won more than a dozen awards over the years, including the coveted Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting from the Florida Press Club and for beat reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists to name a few. His reporting experience is as diverse as the communities he covers.
Support my work with a digital subscription