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Tickets on sale now for the 2012 Bradenton Blues Festival | Arts & Culture

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Tickets on sale now for the 2012 Bradenton Blues Festival
Tickets on sale now for the 2012 Bradenton Blues Festival

Bradenton, Florida -- Bradenton's getting ready for the blues. On Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Realize Bradenton will host the 2012 Bradenton Blues Festival, a family-friendly day of inspired blues music, food and art at the redesigned Riverwalk, along the Manatee River in downtown Bradenton.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the gate. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.BradentonBluesFestival.org.

Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton, explains that the idea for the festival was born after several meetings with Jack Sullivan, operations officer of the internationally acclaimed Blues Revue magazine, headquartered in Bradenton's Village of the Arts. Blues Revue promotes festivals nationwide, including the annual Tampa Bay Blues Festival.

"Jack introduced me to Paul Benjamin, who founded and still produces the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland, Maine," says Isham. "With their help and expertise, we've been able to pull in world-class artists for one heck of an inaugural festival."

She adds that the music will feature national acts with a mix of local flavor, including Ben Prestage, Dave "Biscuit" Miller, Damon Fowler & Southern Hospitality, Homemade Jamz, Johnny Sansone, Kenny Neal, Ruthie Foster, and the Steve Arvey Band with Henry Lawrence.

"I've worked with each of these artists and am delighted they wanted to participate in the inaugural event," says Benjamin, who's serving as artistic director and general manager for the festival. "These are seasoned professionals and the crème de la crème of the contemporary blues world. It's a coup to have them."

An educational initiative will also be major component of the festival, says Isham. 

On Friday, Nov. 30, the festival will feature an outreach program to high school students at Manatee High School, entitled "Blues in the Schools," during which festival musicians will share their talents and professional advice with area students.

Isham says that funding for the festival came from a number of sources, including commercial and individual patrons and sponsors, food and arts vendors, and T-shirt and poster sales.

"The Bradenton Blues Festival is a major economic development strategy that helps promote the city of Bradenton and Manatee County as a great place to live, work, play, and visit," says Isham. "Dozens of Bradenton-based businesses and organizations are supporting this event. We're a close-knit family ready to rock our region with a world-class festival!"

The 2012 Bradenton Blues Festival is organized by Realize Bradenton, a non-profit organization that builds community and promotes economic development through collaborative events, strategic partnerships, and interactive strategies. For more information about Realize Bradenton, visit www.realizebradenton.com

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