More details in my story running today on the Herald's new and improved website:
Like I reported back in November (see link below), the festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 and will be a family-friendly day of blues music, food and art.
It will kick off downtown Bradenton's $6.2 million Riverwalk along the Manatee River.
Harry Potter book series illustrator Mary GrandPré will bring her iconic “soft geometry” style to the limited-edition festival poster.
"This is a great location for an outdoor festival," said Dave Gustafson, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, in a statement explaining that the festival site, overlooking the Manatee River, can accommodate up to 2,500 people.
“It's also the perfect kick-off event to celebrate the completion of the Riverwalk redevelopment project," Gustafson continued. "The Bradenton Blues Festival will definitely attract people from outside the region to our area; this will really be something special."
The 2012 Bradenton Blues Festival is the result of many months of planning and "collaboration between a host of local organizations, businesses and community leaders," reads the emailed statement by Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton.
She explained that the idea for the festival was born after several meetings with Jack Sullivan, operations officer of the internationally acclaimed Blues Revue magazine, headquartered in Bradenton's Village of the Arts. Blues Revue promotes festivals nationwide, including the annual Tampa Bay Blues Festival.
"After many conversations, Jack introduced me to Paul Benjamin, who founded and still produces the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland, Maine," Isham said in a statement. "With their help and expertise, we’ve been able to pull in world-class artists for one heck of an inaugural festival."
The music will feature national acts with a mix of local flavor.
Food, art and educational initiatives will also be major components of the festival.
"We're partnering with Bradenton's cultural non-profits, and best restaurants and artisans to showcase the great culinary and artistic talent we have in Bradenton," Isham's statement reads.
On Friday, November 30, the festival will feature an outreach program to Manatee County high school students, entitled "Blues in the Schools," during which festival musicians will share their talents and professional advice with area students.
Funding for the festival will come from a number of sources, including commercial and individual patrons and sponsors, food and arts vendors, and T-shirt and poster sales.
Sponsors to date include the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, Ad-VANCE Talent Solutions, Artefact Design, BGD Design, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Blues Revue (the world’s Blues Magazine), Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Bradenton Herald, Bright House, Courtyard by Marriott, Fetch Pet Care, Iaboni Real Estate, Jacque and Al Vieira, Jeffcoat Blueprint, LA Events Inc., Manatee Apparel Graphics, Manatee Printers, Mary GrandPré, Richard and Christy Messer, Sarasota Guitar Company, Suncoast Gems, Turner Tree and Landscape, Tinsworth Orthodontist, and Zamikoff, Klement, Jungman & Varga.
Businesses interested in joining the growing list of supporters should contact Johnette Isham at johnette@RealizeBradenton.com.
Graphic and web design have been donated by Realize Bradenton’s design group of Artefact Design and BGD Design, the team responsible for the Realize Bradenton communications. The 2012 Bradenton Blues Festival is organized by Realize Bradenton, a non-profit organization that builds community and promotes economic development through collaborative events, strategic partnerships, and interactive strategies. For more information about Realize Bradenton, visit www.realizebradenton.com.