CLEARWATER — Even if they can't recall the names of any of the musicians, people who venture downtown tonight for the monthly Blast Friday street festival may recognize some of the soft, country-rock melodies of the band onstage, Pure Prairie League.
Perhaps the band's best-known single, Amie, still gets play time on radio stations, as does Let Me Love You Tonight.
And listeners may be forgiven for not remembering the names of band members. PPL, which got its start in Ohio in the late 1960s, endured years of personnel changes because of the Vietnam War, health issues, members' changing career aspirations and fickle record companies. One easily recognizable name that did a stint with PPL: Vince Gill.
Through it all, fans continued to find and play Pure Prairie League's music, and the band still performs at intimate venues and outdoor festivals, appearing this week for Blast Friday and next month in Illinois, New Jersey and Texas.
While music is the centerpiece of this month's Blast Friday, the free family-friendly festival also features a variety of vendors and sales of food, beer, wine and other beverages.
The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and continues until 10 on downtown's Cleveland Street. A limited number of VIP tickets is available at $25 from the Capitol Theatre box office, which will open one hour prior to show time. The tickets include reserve seating directly in front of the Tampa Bay Times Cleveland Street stage, two Bud Light Platinum beers and a slice of pizza from Tony's Pizzeria.
Blast Friday hosts 10 events each year and is supported by the city of Clearwater, the Cleveland Street District and the Downtown Development Board, and is produced by Ruth Eckerd Hall On the Road.
With the weather predicted to be warmer tonight than on other evenings this week, Blast Friday offers a comfortable opportunity to have a mellow evening outdoors enjoying the smooth sounds of Pure Prairie League.