If a love of music is one of the things that will help you choose where to live or retire, Sarasota again this weekend is demonstrating why you should consider investing in a home or condo here.
One of Sarasota’s longest running music festivals, Giving Hunger the Blues comes to the grounds of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on the Sarasota waterfront for its 20th anniversary this weekend. The show features an impressive lineup of local musical artists including headliners in the fields of blues, funk, soul, rock, country, R&B, jazz and reggae. The festival is now part of Sarasota County’s InspireSarasota program.
The Giving Hunger the Blues festival, founded in 1966 by George Generoso, has raised over $1.4 million so far in support of its mission of reliving hunger. All proceeds from the festival benefit the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota/Manatee County, The Mayors’ Feed the Hungry program and the Generoso Foundation.
The festival includes six events over a two week period. Following last week’s Giving Hunger the Blues Rocks! at Kelly’s Live, the concerts continued Friday with Cece Teneal at Starlite Room and a Halloween costume/CD release party on Saturday featured Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul at The Francis.
Giving Hunger the Blues went on hiatus in 2013 but came roaring back to life in 2015. This year it is back again and even bigger. Peter Anderson, the event chairman, said “Going back to the years before the event closed in 2013, I had always been of the mind that Giving Hunger the Blues could and should expand. We have a loyal audience and more importantly, a never ending need to feed, protect and nurture the children in our community and the move this year to the grounds at Van Wezel gave us the opportunity to expand the event this year.”
Mary Bensel, Van Wezel’s executive director, sees Giving Hunger the Blues as a natural extension of our existing Performing Arts Hall offerings. “We were so happy to be involved with this project as it is part of the Mayor’s Feed the Hungry program and InspireSarasota week,” Bensel said.” As we have found with our Friday Fest concerts and the Florida Winefest & Auction, our bayside setting is the perfect place to enjoy an outdoors event. We hope everyone has an amazing time and it helps introduce new community members to the beautiful Van Wezel campus,” she added.
Events on Sunday, October 30th on the Main Stage will kick off at noon with Fogt'sMusic All-Stars followed by Twinkle & Rock Soul Radio, Ari and the Alibis and Reverend Barry & FunktasticSoul featuring the Hellacious Horns. Jah Movement, the region’s top reggae band will perform from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. And then after another concert at 6:30, Bluesman RJ Howson, a Longboat Key resident, will close the Giving Hunger the Blues festival with a performance from 7:45 to 9 p.m.
Simultaneously, another set of performances will be going on all afternoon at the Bay Side Stage.
This festival is a great opportunity for kids to trick or treat, get a free Giving Hunger the Blues T-shirt for bringing non-perishable food donations to the entry gate, enjoy food from some of the best Sarasota area restaurants and food vendors and an opportunity to listen to great music across a wide spectrum of genres. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs and if the weather treats us to the usual warm sunshine, perhaps a little sunscreen, too!”
While advance tickets were priced at $10.00, tickets at the gate are $15.00 at 777 North Tamiami Trail on Sunday. VIP tickets are also available at $35.00. Children under 12 are free. For more information visit givinghungertheblues.org.
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