The vibrancy of our local music, art and food scene will be on full display June 20 at the 3rd annual Community First Seawalk Music Festival. The free festival spotlights local food vendors, artists, and culture with an eclectic collection of the area’s top musicians including Kim Reteguez & the Black Cat Bones, Mama Blue, Down Home Band, JacksonVegas, Herd of Watts, The Band Be Easy, and Split Tone.
With such a feel-good menu of music from blues to southern rock, festival organizers are hoping to introduce up and coming local artists to a wider audience. Festival founder Sam Veal is also unveiling several new elements designed to appeal to the target audience. “This year we will present a very eclectic lineup of local musical talent as well as an increased variety of foods and goods that are local in origin,” says Veal. “We designed the festival to appeal to the millennial market. The millennial generation has a genuine commitment to enhancing Jacksonville with their energy, inventiveness and optimistic outlook. We feel the musical lineup and other festival offerings reflect their interests and spirit and we are looking forward to some fun additions to an already fun event.”
New elements include a single elimination surf event that will feature both men’s and women’s divisions but instead of heats, surfers will compete against each other one on one. The winners of each respective division will later go head to head to determine the ultimate winner of the inaugural competition. Also new this year is a volleyball tournament In partnership with the Jacksonville Volleyball association and a skateboard demonstration courtesy of George Evans and the Instaramp Skateboard Challenge. Veal says he is working with staff at Latitude 30 to introduce the first ever Seawalk Music Fest Cornhole Challenge. Local surf retailers are also coming together for a swimwear fashion show just in time for the summer season. And although not an officially sanctioned event, the fun will continue once the music ends at a festival after-party held at the Pier Restaurant.
As the executive director of Jax Beach Festivals, Veal knows what it takes to put on a successful festival. He the driving force behind the successful Great Atlantic Music Festival and the internationally renowned George’s Music Springing the Blues Festival, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. When planning for the Community First Seawalk Music Festival, Veal says he simply looked to the talents and the culture right in our own backyard. “This festival is different from other events because its primary purpose is to be reflective of the outstanding and unique aspect of our local creative community,” he says. “It is important to have an all local festival because it creates the greatest sense of community through focusing on the many diverse talents that are a vibrant part of our community and sharing that collection of talent in a festival atmosphere.”
The inaugural Community First Seawalk Music Festival was held in 2013 in partnership with Community First Credit Union. For information call, 270-9301 or 249-3972 or visit the festival website at www.communityfirstseawalkmusicfest.com for the complete lineup. Since parking is at a premium near the festival grounds, JTA’s Beaches Trolley runs from Atlantic Village Shopping Center at Royal Palms & Atlantic Blvd. in Neptune Beach to South Beach Regional Shopping Center south of the festival, at the corner of A1A and Butler Blvd. It will stop within a block of the festival. Cost is $1.50 per trip. Fareboxes accept $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills, but operators cannot make change. Come out on June 20th for what is sure to be a great time!