It’s just a short drive down US 301, which many of us have made trekking back and forth to UF. Just before the holiday break its become an annual tradition to celebrate at the Downtown Festival & Art Show.
The soulful sound of blues will usher in the Downtown Festival & Art Show weekend Friday, Nov. 13 with a free Downtown Blues Concert on the new stage (located on the corner of Southwest Second Avenue and Southwest Second Street) from 7-10 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 local blues musician, Barbara Paul, performing 20th century finger style and slide blues, as she shares her love for the historical stories found in music and the emotions the songs bring forth. Paul recently won for solo/duo at the North Central Florida Blues Society Regional Challenge, and will be representing this region at the International Blues Concert in Memphis, Tennessee in January.
The Bridget Kelly Band, featuring Bridget Kelly on vocals and Tim Fik on guitar, conjures up an electric blues vibe that blends classic blues with elements of guitar-driven Texas and Memphis blues. As International Blues Challenge (IBC) Semi-Finalists in Memphis 2015, and a band that has earned airplay on Sirius-XM radio and hundreds of syndicated blues radio programs around the globe with their critically acclaimed “Forever in Blues” CD, the Bridget Kelly Band has gained an international reputation as a high-energy blues band that has placed their unique stamp on the blues-rock genre.
This year’s headliner, Mac Arnold & Plate Full ‘O Blues, has been called “one of the most original voice in blues” (Jazz Now) and “one remaining virtual blues goldmine” (All Music Jazz). Arnold has played with legends such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, BB King and Otis Redding, and his high school band was often joined by the future soul music legend, James Brown. Many are familiar with his distinctive bass line heard on the theme for the TV show “Sanford and Son.”
The excitement of the Downtown Blues Concert is followed by two fun-filled days of art, music and culture at the 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 34th anniversary and will take place Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15 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 four 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.gainesvilledowntownartfest.org or call 352-334-ARTS.