SPRING LAKE — As the chill of winters come to an end, it is the time of year that spring breakers flock to Florida. It's also the time when Central Florida's music scene starts to heat up.
This weekend brings the annual StringBreak Music Festival, with scores of musicians and lots of fans expected to gather at the Sertoma Youth Ranch for the four-day camping and music extravaganza.
"It's going to be a little bit of everything you never heard before," said Mitch Lind, who launched the event more than a decade ago as a sister event to the popular Riverhawk Music Festival, which takes place each November.
StringBreak begins Thursday and runs through Sunday and will feature more than 26 bands. A number of musical genres will be represented, including the bluesy sounds of the Jimmy LaFave Band; folk rock songs by Laney Jones and the Spirits; folk-rock-world fusion sounds of Ragbirds; the American string band sounds of Mr. Sun, featuring the legendary fiddler Darol Anger, as well as Mustang Sally and the Hamjos, and American roots music by the Dustbowl Revival, Steel Wheels and Miss Tess and the Talkbacks. Also featured will be Australian performer 8 Ball Aitken, who fuses country with Australian blues and roots.
"We look for acts that appeal to a wide range of musical tastes," Lind said. That, he said, includes anything from mountain music, to prewar blues to neo-folk rock and others.
"It's not just country or rock," Lind said. "It's Americana. … It envelops many, many different styles. It's American invented."
There will be plenty of opportunities for visitors to play their music as well. Along with an open mic session on Saturday, it is often the norm for jams to pick up each night after the scheduled performances end. There will also be music workshops offered throughout the festival.
StringBreak also offers plenty for kids. From hayrides and games to arts and crafts and pinatas, children will not be bored.
The festival has a strong fan base, with families coming year after year. Those who have yet to experience the long festival will not be disappointed, Lind said.
"If you want to try something totally unique for entertainment, you must check out the Sertoma Youth Ranch," he said. "It's nestled in a group of oak trees, with a stream running through and three stages. It's a comfortable atmosphere. … You'll experience an eclectic day of music that you've never heard before."