Sunday, May 20, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival returns with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Beth Hart

Clearwater's Coachman Park is home to some big concerts — the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Fun 'n Sun, Wild Splash.

But don't sleep on the free Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, which returns to the downtown park Saturday and Sunday with one of its coolest lineups to date.

Electric retro-soul stylists Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and St. Paul and the Broken Bones will headline Saturday's affair, while smoky-voiced Beth Hart and blues-rock firebrand Nikki Hill take the stage on Sunday.

It all kicks off at 9 p.m. Thursday with the annual "Blues Walk," a downtown pub, restaurant and shop crawl along Cleveland Street. Stops include the Capitol Beer House, La Fondita de Leo and the Pro Shop Pub.

In all, it's a younger-skewing lineup for the city-backed fest, which in years past has drawn more than 20,000 folks downtown for a mix of fresh local seafood and blues, folk, zydeco and world music. And that could make it one of the biggest yet — especially since it's the centerpiece of a busy weekend of music in downtown Clearwater.

The night before Sea-Blues, Bryan Adams gives a rare headlining concert in Coachman Park, booked by the folks at Ruth Eckerd Hall — a "happy coincidence," said Bobby Rossi, the venue's executive vice president for entertainment, but one that could boost attendance at both events.

And a couple blocks away, the Capitol Theatre has a trio of events planned. On Friday, Ruth Eckerd Hall's Friends of Music program takes over with a private, invite-only acoustic show by Foreigner. On Saturday, blues singers Shemekia Copeland and James Hunter stop by. (This one's noteworthy because Hunter is signed to Daptone Records, the label run by the Dap-Kings' Gabriel Roth; might we see some sort of guest drop-in?) And on Sunday, the Florida Orchestra comes in for a performance.

But all those other events combined likely won't bring as big a crowd as Sea-Blues. The music begins at noon both days, with the Dap-Kings headlining at 8:45 p.m. Saturday and Hart at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, though reserved seating is $25 and up per day, or $40 and up for the weekend. Call (727) 562-4700 or see clearwaterseablues.com.

Contact Jay Cridlin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.

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