Saturday, June 23, 2018
Features and More

Alan Jackson, Rodney Atkins to headline inaugural Santa Blast festival in Tampa

In a year that's already seen the birth of the Halloweenie Roast, Sunset Music Festival, Gasparilla Music Festival, Guavaween Music Festival and Sunshine Blues Festival, we're now getting a festival for country music fans.

WQYK-FM 99.5 is launching its first-ever Santa Blast: A Country Concert & Fireworks Show on Dec. 2 at the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre in Tampa.

The lineup: Alan Jackson, Rodney Atkins, David Nail, Jana Kramer, JT Hodges, Maggie Rose and Tampa Bay's own Suite Caroline (who, as she grows, appears to be making a transition to the name Caroline Kole).

It's being billed as a day of fun, including artist meet-and-greets, photos with Santa, a Santa's workshop and fireworks at the end. But a local concert by the Grammy-winning superstar Jackson is a surprisingly rare occurrence, so it's worth the price of admission just for that.

Tickets go on sale Friday, and here's the best part: For the first weekend only, lawn seats are just $9.95. After that, WQYK says they'll be just $13.95 (though Live Nation pegs the lowest lawn seats at $19.95). On the high end, they're $95.95.

A country festival is an obvious fit in Tampa Bay, one of the strongest country markets in America. We've already got hip-hop festivals (Wild Splash, Last Damn Show), rock festivals (Next Big Thing, 98 Rockfest), pop festivals (93.3 Jingle Ball, Taste of Pinellas) and everything in between (Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Antiwarpt, Tropical Heatwave, Ribfest).

Sunshine Blues Fest coming to St. Pete

Can St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park support yet another blues festival?

In November, the park will host Ribfest, which crosses several genre boundaries, though two of its headliners are Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang. Next April, it's time for the Tampa Bay Blues Festival, with Trombone Shorty, Dickey Betts and Lang again.

Now comes word of a third blues-based festival coming to Vinoy on Sunday, Jan. 20: The Sunshine Blues Festival. And you could argue that this one has the strongest lineup of all.

Tedeschi Trucks Band (featuring wife-and-husband guitar whizzes Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks), Dr. John, Walter Trout, Sonny Landreth, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Joe Louis Walker and the Wood Brothers, featuring Chris Wood of Medeski Martin & Wood, lead the lineup for the inaugural fest. Joining them are Jaimoe's Jasssz Band, Matt Schofield and Bobby Lee Rodgers.

The event is set to begin at 10:45 a.m., and given that it's January and Vinoy Park is right on the water, you might actually want to pack a sweater. When's the last time you could say that about a festival at Vinoy Park?

Tickets are $49.50, and they go on sale Saturday via Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

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