Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Riverhawk Music Fest keeps humming

The Red Stick Ramblers, a Cajun-swing band, will perform Saturday at the festival that will continue through the weekend with music acts performing simultaneously on four stages.

Special to the Times

The Red Stick Ramblers, a Cajun-swing band, will perform Saturday at the festival that will continue through the weekend with music acts performing simultaneously on four stages.

SPRING LAKE — The fact that it has survived into its eighth year is something of a miracle to Riverhawk Music Festival promoter Mitch Lind.

By all rights, Lind figures, the eclectic event held annually at the Sertoma Youth Ranch should have fallen by the wayside.

But then there's the difference between Lind and music presenters who have visions of turning a quick buck.

"If that's what you're looking for, this ain't the business," Lind, 56, said. "Promoting music like this requires something else. You have to have some faith."

The Riverhawk Music Festival, which began Thursday and continues through Sunday southeast of Spring Lake, has roots dating back to 1995, when Lind partnered with friend Kermit Weeks to stage an Americana music festival at Weeks' Fantasy of Flight aviation museum in Polk City.

Despite a bumpy start, the Wings and Strings festival carried on for five years, drawing fans to see some of the top names in bluegrass, zydeco and roots country music.

By 2001, Weeks had moved on to other things. Lind rechristened the event the following year as the Riverhawk Music Festival, first at a campground in Arcadia, then at the Sertoma Youth Ranch.

"It's been a fun ride," Lind said. "Seeing the smiles on the faces of our fans is what does it for me. It tells me we're doing something that's important to them."

Though music is the main focus for adults, Lind always has insisted that there be other entertainment as well. There are contests for best campsites, and instrumental workshops where professionals offer playing tips on guitar, banjo, mandolin and other instruments.

Keeping with the theme of making the festival family friendly, Lind has a staff of volunteers who organize games, hayrides, a trapeze experience, arts and crafts, and a daily costume parade through the campground.

As for the music, Lind's philosophy is that if it's got a great sound there ought to be an audience for it. From zydeco, reggae and roots rock to the melodic sounds of Celtic, bluegrass and new folk, convention is out the window, Lind said.

"A lot of the music we feature is so alternative it really can't be labeled," he said. "One of the cool things that happens is people will come to hear a band they like and they end up discovering somebody else they like, too."

With music acts performing simultaneously on four stages throughout the weekend, the chances of that happening appear to be pretty good.

Headlining the event Saturday will be the Cajun-swing band Red Stick Ramblers, plus returning favorites the Steeldrivers (Saturday), the Greencards (today and Saturday), Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band (today), the Gibson Brothers (Saturday and Sunday), Trailer Park Troubadours (Saturday), King Wilkie (today), Mark Johnson and Emory Lester (Saturday and Sunday), and many others.

Logan Neill can be reached at or (352) 848-1435.

If you go

When: Performances are from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Sertoma Youth Ranch, southeast of Spring Lake on Myers Road (off Church Road), near the Hernando-Pasco county line (off Interstate 75, Exit 293).

Cost: Adults: $25 today, $50 Saturday ($25 after 6 p.m.), and $20 Sunday at the gate. Teens 13 to 17: $10 today, $20 Saturday and $10 Sunday. Children under 12 are admitted free with a paid adult. Weekend passes are available at the gate.

Call: (863) 984-8445 for information and rough camping availability.

Riverhawk Music Fest keeps humming 11/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 5, 2009 4:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In Case You Missed It: U.S. sailors missing after Navy destroyer collides with oil tanker; Comedians Dick Gregory, Jerry Lewis pass away


    Weekends are great for unwinding, and maybe even unplugging for a little while. Here's what trended that you might have missed if you weren't on social media the last couple days.

    Dick Gregory in Washington, March 10, 2009. Gregory, the pioneering black satirist who transformed cool humor into a barbed force for civil rights in the 1960s, then veered from his craft for a life devoted to social causes, health regimens and conspiracy theories, died in Washington on Aug. 19, 2017. He was 84.
  2. Video: How to make a pinhole projector if you didn't score eclipse glasses


    CAPE CANAVERAL — Solar glasses are a must for safe viewing of Monday's total solar eclipse, the first to span coast to U.S. coast in 99 years.

    Follow these simple instructions to make a pinhole projector out of a cereal box. [Photo from video]
  3. Walmart expands grocery delivery service to Tampa


    TAMPA — Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service to Tampa, the company announced Monday. Five locations will offer delivery for online grocery orders.

    Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery to Tampa, the company announced Monday. | [Times file photo]
  4. Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera won't run for Congress


    Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has decided not to run for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat in Congress, though he may seek another office in 2020.

    Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
  5. From the food editor: 'MasterChef' winner Shaun O'Neale talks cooking at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival


    There are certain reliable signs that fall is on the way. Nothing in the weather department, of course, but other markers that usher in the celebratory final months of the year. One of those things is the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which happens annually in Orlando, seemingly longer and more jam-packed …

    Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Puree. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.