BROOKSVILLE — The periodic events served as an outlet where blues musicians could jam and residents could enjoy an evening of outdoor musical entertainment among the majestic oak trees on the courthouse lawn in downtown Brooksville. It was also a way to help downtown businesses. But with little financial support, the 5th & Blues concerts took a hiatus.
That didn't sit well with event organizer William Ford, who plays electric guitar.
"Unfortunately, the local businesses didn't want to chip in to help pay for the host bands," Ford said.
So when the opportunity arose to use a tree-shaded field with a creek on the southwest side of town, Ford felt the time was right to bring back the concerts, which are held during months that have a fifth Saturday.
The first relocated 5th & Blues Jam Festival will kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday at Horse Lake Field, adjacent to Beef 'O' Brady's on Horse Lake Road. Additional events are scheduled for Aug. 30 and Nov. 29.
"It is the most idyllic spot, a perfect spot for a blues jam festival," Ford said.
Saturday's jam will feature the Igniters, a three-piece band.
"They are a high-energy local group that performs blues and funk," Ford said.
Although they only recently started playing together, Ford said he has known two of the band members for many years, and the music they create is enjoyable.
"They are tight," he said.
The six-hour family-friendly festival will include several vendors. Food and refreshments will be provided by Beef 'O' Brady's, including beer.
"But this is a family event, and we intend to keep it that way," Ford promised.
There will be a small admission fee to help pay for the host band, and additional donations will be accepted for the Life Center of Hernando, a nonprofit organization that provides residence and support for young, single mothers and their children who are homeless or have unstable living conditions.
While the Igniters will be the main entertainment, Ford encourages all musicians to bring their blues instruments.
"Everyone is welcome to come and jam," he said. "We're in it for the art, the fellowship and the community get-together."