By Jane Bartnett
The fifth-annual Siesta Beach Seafood & Music Festival will return to the Siesta Beach Pavilion at noon on Friday, Dec. 3, with the gulf as its scenic backdrop. The three-day event will run through 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5. Admission is free.
Eleven popular musical groups have been lined up, and some 15 food vendors will be serving up delicious local seafood, prepared onsite.
Meat and vegetable dishes will also be available, with delectable side dishes and desserts.
Feeling thirsty? There will be both alcoholic and non-alcoholic and fruit drinks for sale.
“This is a fantastic family-friendly event,” said event director Bill Kinney, of Paragon Festivals. “The musical lineup is incredible. We’re expecting an enormous turnout and I hope that all the local Siesta Key merchants will benefit from this start-of-the-season kickoff. Each day, a series of different musical groups will perform live.
Just in time for holiday shopping, Kinney also reports that there will be a market place on site filled with fine arts, crafts and food items for sale.
The music on Day begins at 4:30 p.m. 4:30 p.m. when the popular southwest Florida rock/blues group Kettle of Fish takes the stage.
Selwyn Birchwood, the award-winning blues guitarist from Tampa, follows at 6:30 p.m., and then at 8:30 p.m. Gas House Gorillas, a five-piece rock band, will have you dancing with their classic rock sounds until 10 p.m.
On Saturday, the festival opens at 11 a.m. At 12:30 p.m. Prodigal Sons, a rock, blues, reggae and R&B band from Charlotte, North Carolina, will perform.
Shaw Davis & The Black Ties take the stage at 2:30 p.m. The celebrated group from Pompano Beach will keep the blues-rock theme going strong.
Come late afternoon, the air will be filled with the sounds of soul-rock as Twinkle & Rock Soul Radio, a band that calls itself “a straight-up guitar-rock band,” begin to play at 4:30 p.m.
That evening, not long after the sun has set, festival-goers will ease into the early evening when at 6:30 p.m. the alternative folk-rock band Have Gun Will Travel, from Bradenton, takes the stage.
At 8:30 p.m., the Damon Fowler Band of Tampa wraps up the night. Fowler has been described as “a hard-driving troubadour whose music is steeped with soul.” Hear Fowler sing the blues until 10 p.m.
On Sunday, the Whole Band performs at 12:30 p.m. The popular Sarasota bluegrass rock group, that fans describe as “magical, amazing and fun,” is known for its three-part harmonies. This group has its roots in Americana, blues, rock, bluegrass, country and R&B.
At 2:30 p.m., catch the Billy Rice Band playing “songs that make you dance or make you listen and enjoy the pure pleasure of music,” according to the group’s website. A Sarasota legend, Rice has opened for the Charlie Daniels Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Keith Urban, and other leading artists.
Finally, as the festival comes to a close, dance the evening away from 4:30 to 6 p.m. with the 22N, a high-energy, central Florida-based dance party rock band,
Although the event was sidelined in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, Kinney expressed his enthusiasm and joy at being back.
“It’s just great to return to the No. 1 beach, and so good to get back to more normal days,” he said.
For more information, visit seafoodfestivals.com.