|GrandPre's original artwork|
"They did an incredible job last year," said Tom Carter, president of the Suncoast Blues Society. "And it's going to be even more incredible this year. The lineup is just fantastic."
This year's blues festival is set for Dec. 7 on the Riverwalk. Headliners include Shemekia Copeland and Trampled Underfoot.
"It's one of the best, most organized events I've ever been to," said Bill Cornelius, one of the owners of the Blue Rooster in Sarasota. "All the artists were real blues artists and the setting was absolutely beautiful."
Cornelius has lived in Sarasota for about three years and said he discovered Bradenton through the blues festival last year. Now he's gearing up to open a brewery in Bradenton.
One of the centerpieces of the party was the unveiling of the original artwork for this year's festival. It was created by Mary GrandPre, who's best known for illustrating the Harry Potter books.
|Isham, Jack Sullivan of Blues Music|
"It's worth $30,000," she said.
Probably no one in the area has more experience staging blues festivals than Barbara Strauss, the founder of the erstwhile Sarasota Blues Festival. She came to the party to show her support for Bradenton's festival.
"When I show up for something it means I really want to support it," she said. "I think what they did was absolutely brilliant, fantastic. They brought the community together."
You can order tickets and get more information about the Bradenton Blues Festival at www.bradentonbluesfestival.org.