The soulful sound of blues will usher in the Gainesville Downtown Festival & Art Show weekend Friday, Nov. 7 with a free Downtown Blues Concert at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza from 7 to 10 p.m. The North Central Florida Blues Society is pleased to announce an evening under the stars featuring three incredible blues performances.
This soul-moving show will kick-off with well-known local blues musician, Rick Randlett, performing his all-original acoustic blues that respects tradition but adds a modern touch. His first acoustic CD, “Change Coming On,” was released in 2012. The CD spent 10 weeks on Roots Music Report’s top 10 internet blues radio charts. His latest CD “Nothing To Do” reached #4 on the charts and has received airplay on Sirius XM radio.The Bridget Kelly Band, with Bridget Kelly on vocals and Tim Fik on guitar, will follow with an electric blues vibe that blends classic blues with elements of guitar-driven Texas and Memphis blues. Inspired by classic and electric blues, the Bridget Kelly Band has placed their unique stamp on the blues-rock genre.
The 2014 International Blues Challenge winner and this year’s headliner, the Selwyn Birchwood Band, will take the stage at 9 p.m. Led by sunshine state native Selwyn Birchwood, this group of very experienced musicians performs a hip-shaking, roof-rattling mix of blues sure to delight the audience. On tour for their current CD “Road Worn,” this group’s unique brand of swampy Florida blues will be right at home here in Gainesville.
The excitement of the Downtown Blues Concert is followed by two fun-filled days of art, music and culture at the Gainesville Downtown Festival & Art Show. This nationally recognized festival transforms downtown Gainesville into a venue for award-winning artists and draws a crowd of more than 100,000 visitors. Presented by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, the festival celebrates its 33rd anniversary and will take place Saturday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the tree-lined streets of downtown Gainesville, from City Hall to the Hippodrome Theatre.
For two days, visitors can leisurely stroll through historic downtown and marvel at works from more than 240 of the nation’s most talented artists, who display their original oils and acrylics, vibrant watercolors, captivating sculptures, dazzling jewelry, decorative ceramics and vivid photography. Art lovers can interact with artists while finding unique gifts for family and friends or purchase artwork for their own collection. They can also savor local and international cuisine and listen to live music performed on three stages. Children also have the chance to enjoy the festival and get creative at the Imagination Station, a free hands-on art activity area. The Downtown Festival & Art Show is a celebration of art and culture that you won’t want to miss. For more information visit www.gvlculturalaffairs.org or call 352-334-ARTS.