RIVERVIEW — It began innocently enough as a fundraiser to become Riverview's honorary mayor in 2010 and concurrently fulfill a dream to be in the music business.
Mike Self spent seven years in the music industry but is the first to admit he "loves music but can't play an instrument."
So he helped start the SouthShore Music Festival, an annual showcase that also benefits local charities. Self went on to win that mayoral seat and he thinks the community continues to win with the festival that will take place Nov. 14.
To raise money for this year's event, Self staged a series of comedy nights at the Regent in Riverview. The final installment of the three-part run takes place at 6 p.m. on Oct. 16. Orlando's Nathan Coe Marsh, who bills himself as a comedian/magician/illusionist, will headline.
Self said the first two events sold out with more than 325 people buying group tables or individual tickets. The night includes a buffet featuring selections from at least 10 local restaurants.
"The dinner included is not this cheap dinner," Self said. "We wanted one last show to make sure all our bases are covered financially (for the festival). It's a different way of fundraising and it's clean fun, G-rated."
Advance tickets start at $35 and can be purchased online at southshoremusicfestival.com. Monies raised will benefit My Warriors Place, Feeding Tampa Bay and wounded veterans.
Children and active military will get into the SouthShore Music Festival for free and this year's lead act is Chase Bryant, who climbed to ninth on the country charts with his debut single last year called Take It On Back.
Self said he hopes the festival, held at the International Independent Showmen's Association in Riverview, draws interest from all over the state - whether it is to compete in the chili cook off or enjoy a blend of soulful rock, country and blues music.
"I want to be the small venue," he said. "We are close to paying for it in full."
Contact Eric Vician at email@example.com.