SPRING LAKE — Normally quiet during May, the Sertoma Youth Ranch will be the scene of two diverse music festivals this weekend and next. Both promise to break new ground at the venue, which traditionally plays host to bluegrass and folk music events.
This weekend's inaugural Orange Blossom Jamboree Music and Art Festival will beckon fans from the jam band culture with 25 acts scheduled to perform today through Sunday. Wake Up Florida, May 28-30, is touted as a multigenre sonic blowout featuring more than four dozen rock, punk and electronic artists on three stages.
Orange Blossom Jamboree promoter Russ Bowers said that his event is the first of its kind in Central Florida and will feature groups from throughout the state, including his own band, Fungus Garden Reverb.
Bowers, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, said he has been a fan of improvisational rock for many years. The music, whose roots can be traced to the iconic 1960s rock band, the Grateful Dead, and continued during the 1990s with bands such as Phish and Widespread Panic, has garnered a cult-like following in recent years.
Bowers, 34, said he has attended several jam band festivals in the Midwest and wanted to re-create the fun, family-friendly atmosphere in his home state.
"It's just a great, organic scene," Bowers said of his fellow jam band followers. "It's all about people enjoying live music and making friends."
Bowers said he's expecting about 1,000 people to attend; many who have bought advance tickets plan to camp for the weekend, he said. In addition to the music, about 30 vendors will be on hand selling food, beverages and crafts.
According to Bowers, most of the performers have only a regional following. But he expects that a number of fans will turn out to see the notable names, such as 3rd Stone, a popular Gainesville funk-soul sextet, and the Tampa blues-rock quartet COPE.
"These bands are getting known pretty well around the state, so we're hoping they'll draw a good crowd," Bowers said.
As genre-diverse as the Orange Blossom Jamboree is, nailing down the Wake Up Florida music festival is even tougher. Think rock meets hip-hop meets funk meets electronica — and just about everything in between.
One thing is for certain: It's not an event for people who can't tolerate high-volume sound.
Although promoter Ron Register did not return calls this week, the website for the festival lists more than 40 acts that are committed to perform at the event. Most of them fall into one of many subcategories of dance-based electronic music — including dub, breakbeat and electro — that are created using computers, synthesizers, turntables and drum machines.
In addition to the main stages for bands, the event will feature a "tek" lounge as well as a DJ/VJ tent that will operate from 7 a.m. to midnight each day.
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1435.