Make us your home page

Back 40 Fest brings live music to Little Manatee River State Park

This festival is “so much closer to us, which is really nice,” says Dean Johanesen.


This festival is “so much closer to us, which is really nice,” says Dean Johanesen.


From Antiwarpt to Blues Fest to Coastline Festival, there's been no shortage of Tampa Bay music festivals in recent years.

But an all-day music festival in Wimauma? That's a little more unusual.

The inaugural Back 40 Music Festival will be held Saturday at Little Manatee River State Park. Gates open at 10 a.m., local musicians perform until 11 p.m. and concertgoers can camp overnight. All proceeds benefit Friends of Little Manatee River.

Park manager and festival coordinator Christy Burch said she hopes Back 40 makes people more aware of, and more likely to visit, the park.

"Our goal is to increase access, and hopefully increase visitation … Our park in the past has been an underutilized park," she said.

Burch is also a fan of music festivals. And besides WMNF's Little Manatee River Jam, which is held by the river's canoe outpost, she said there weren't many options for SouthShore residents.

The event will be held in the park's equestrian parking area. And like a smaller-scale, more local version of Coastline Festival, a daylong concert scheduled for November at the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre, it will feature a combination of music, food trucks and vendors.

The food will be provided by Suncoast Food Trucks, which has barbecue, ice cream, pretzel and wrap trucks, Burch said. There will also be vendors and exhibitors such as Camp Bayou. The musicians will perform on a stage on loan from the Florida Folk Festival held at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park.

One of those performers will be Bradenton singer-songwriter and 2013 tbt* Ultimate Local Artist Dean Johanesen. The musician has played several outdoor festivals including Orange Blossom Jamboree, Suwannee and Little Manatee River Jam, which he said offer a nice respite from his typical shows.

"I do a lot of three-hour gigs, and I kind of like the showcase gigs where you can play 45 minutes and also take in music from bands you haven't heard of yet," Johanesen said. "So that part's really enjoyable to me."

Having played Little Manatee River Jam, Johanesen said the area's appeal is a similar environment to Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, but not several hours away.

"With going to Springfest and Magnolia Fest, you have to drive all the way to Live Oak for that kind of a setting," he said. "This one's so much closer to us, which is really nice."

Burch hopes attendees want to visit again after seeing the concert and sleeping over, with campsites that include electric, water and picnic tables. She said there wasn't a lot of the promotion of the park in past years.

"I think people just didn't know about it," Burch said.

She said they've tried to increase awareness of the park lately. It was a host location for the Real Florida Run Series, and they've started offering after-hours events like owl prowls.

And one of the long-term goals, Burch said, is to make Back 40 a multiday music festival.

Jimmy Geurts can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3402.

. If you go

Back 40 Music Festival

Back 40 Music Festival features local acts such as Burning Tree and Head State starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Little Manatee River State Park, 215 Lightfoot Road, Wimauma. Tickets are $13.50.

Back 40 Fest brings live music to Little Manatee River State Park 10/09/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 4:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Cast up to the challenge in Richey Suncoast's 'How the Other Half Loves'


    Theater has many plays where there are two completely different apartments depicted on the stage, usually split down the middle, one on the right, one on the left.

    "How the Other Half Loves" runs weekends through Oct. 29 at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey. Cast members are Christine Stoll and  David Daly (in front) and Bob Marcela, Heather Clark, Mike Worssell and Blake Parker (in back, from left). [Photo by Jess Glass]
  2. Review: Excellent cast delivers entertaining production of 'Young Frankenstein' at Stage West


    I went to see the musical comedy Young Frankenstein at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill with some trepidation. I had seen a very good production of the show at another theater a couple of years ago, and I was concerned that I would subconsciously compare the two to the detriment of one or the …

    "Young Frankenstein" plays weekends through Oct. 29 at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill. Keith Surplus, left, performs as Igor and Lynda Dilts-Benson, right, as Frau Blucher. [Photo by Carol Ballard]
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Oct. 23-29


    R. L. Stine: It's fitting that the week before Halloween, USF's Lecture Series features the popular horror author known for the Goosebumps series. Stine will discuss his career, creative process and sign books Wednesday at the Marshall Student Center in Tampa. Free. .

    ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 09: Singer Anthony Hamilton performs onstage at the 2014 Ford Neighborhood Awards Hosted By Steve Harvey at the Phillips Arena on August 9, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Ford Neighborhood Awards)
  4. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'


    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  5. Blake High grad Taylor Trensch lands lead role in 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Broadway


    For those who saw Taylor Trensch grow up in Tampa, his rise from promising student to star is heartwarming and entirely predictable. In January, Trensch, 28, will be moving into the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, one of the hottest tickets in theater.

    Taylor Trensch, a 2007 Blake High graduate, will play the title role in Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Courtesy of Frank Trensch.