The Bradenton Blues Festival is a music event that takes place annually in Bradenton, Florida. It is organized and produced by non-profit organization, Realize Bradenton as part of a plan to promote downtown Bradenton as a cultural destination.
Tickets for the first-ever festival were sold out, making it an immediate success. It primarily focuses on Blues music and features some world-class musicians. Both national and upcoming local bands and artists bring the various stages alive with their performances.
The Bradenton Riverwalk, which was inaugurated in 2012, serves as the venue for the event. It lies on the banks of the Manatee River, so festival guests can enjoy a gorgeous view in addition to the live music. Proceeds from ticket sales go toward promoting various local youth and community programs.
Artists who have performed at the Bradenton Blues Festival in the past include Kenny Neal, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Trampled Under Foot, Doug Deming, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Sugar Ray Norcia, and Ronnie Baker Brooks. Thanks to the festival and other events, Bradenton has become a hub for tourists who enjoy music, culture, art, and sports. The Florida coastline welcomes RVers to come and absorb all the sunshine and sand that they can handle.
Guests can opt for General Admission tickets or Reserved Front Of Stage seating. Attendees may also look for a Blues Brunch featuring live musical performances and a three-course meal. Passes for the brunch are usually available on the website. Prices range from $45 for General Admission passes to $115 for the Reserved Front Of Stage tickets.
Tickets have sold out in the past, so obtaining tickets early is best. Reserved tickets will give you access to a special seating area right in front of the main stage. More information on passes, schedules, and pricing can be found on the Bradenton Blues Festival website.
The festival takes place at Bradenton Riverwalk Event Pavilion, located in downtown Bradenton, Florida. The city lies on Florida's west coast and is about 40 miles away from Tampa. Once you reach Bradenton, it's a good idea to park your rig at your chosen campsite before heading to the festival venue. Excessive traffic and road closures are expected on festival days. Travelers are likely to cross one or more bridges while in the Tampa Bay and Manatee River areas. Stay alert on local weather and road conditions through Florida's 511 services or via your favorite local weather stations.
There are a number of parking lots and garages in the downtown area where you can park your vehicle. Some parking is permitted for volunteers and workers, so note these no parking areas as established by the festival. The lots that are closer to the venue tend to fill up fast, so make sure you get there early. Otherwise, you may end up having to park quite a distance away from the site. Keep in mind that smaller camping setups may have an easier time parking near the venue; know your length and height requirements before arrival.
There are several bus routes with stops in the downtown area. Sometimes road alerts may be issued in Manatee County and the surrounding regions, which may lead to bus schedule changes. Be sure to check online or call 511 before finalizing public transportation in the area. The fastest way to get around might be by using a taxi or ride-hailing service.
There are no onsite camping options at the Bradenton Blues Festival. However, you'll find plenty of well-equipped campgrounds and RV parks in the area.
Thanks to its status as a popular resort destination, there are plenty of places that accommodate RV camping in Bradenton. Since the city is close to Interstate 75, it is a pit stop for many RVers touring the state. Many of the campgrounds and RV parks are by the ocean, so you can enjoy some great views and water activities within a 15-minute drive of the Bradenton Riverwalk.
Patrons will need to get around on foot since roller skates, scooters, skateboards, hoverboards or other motorized vehicles will not be allowed on the festival grounds. Most parts of the site can be navigated by wheelchair. The main entrance is fully accessible, and there will also be a dedicated mobility assistance entrance.
Go dressed for warm weather in lightweight fabrics like linen or chiffon. The atmosphere is pretty laid back, and most festival-goers will be dressed in t-shirts and pants or shorts. One thing to keep in mind is that you may need to walk quite a bit around the downtown area. So be sure to wear comfortable, flat shoes.
Pack a small personal bag with essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, earplugs, and a hat. A lightweight blanket or foldable chair can come in handy if you want to enjoy the music sitting down, or simply need to take a break off your feet. Take a small amount of cash to pay for food or drinks since all vendors may not accept cards.
Even in December, you may find yourself in a warm and humid environment, and proper hydration is essential. In past years, medically necessary items or snack foods have been allowed, but general food and drinks are not permitted into the festival. Service animals are allowed entry with proper certifications.
Guests will not be allowed to cook at the venue or bring in outside food or drinks. If you're staying at an offsite campground or RV park, you can look forward to preparing food in your RV or possibly on a small portable grill or the stove. You may also be allowed to light a campfire as long as it is contained in a fire ring, but check with your campground for regulations. Take advantage of local food resources or stop by a grocery market in the area if you need to replenish your camper shelves.
You'll find excellent cafes, restaurants, and pubs in the area. Some of them overlook the Manatee River, so you can enjoy a fantastic view with your meal. Be sure to try the fresh seafood and authentic wood-fired pizza while you're in the city. There is also some great French and fusion food for travelers to enjoy in the Bradenton community.
When it comes to the food and beverages, there is something for everyone at the Bradenton Blues Festival. This event is geared to highlight the best of its community, so be ready with an empty belly. In addition to the usual festival fare like burgers and hotdogs, you'll come across delicious vegan and vegetarian options. If you're in the mood for something a bit more exotic, there will be other cuisines on offer as well.
Private security personnel, as well as police officers, will be providing security for the event. All bags and belongings will be thoroughly checked at the entrances. Check the list of allowed items on the website and make sure you're not carrying anything that's banned. Outside alcohol, illegal drugs, and weapons are prohibited, as well as glass, coolers, laser pointers, and umbrellas.
Bradenton Blues Festival will go on rain or shine. In the rare event of extreme weather, some performances may be postponed or canceled. Evacuation measures are in place to get patrons to safety. Before you head to the venue, check the weather report for the day and go dressed accordingly. Keep an eye out for larger storms in the Florida area via your favorite weather alert system.
There will be a first aid center staffed with trained medical professionals and volunteers. Head there if you or someone you know requires assistance. You can also flag down one of the festival staff members, and they will direct you. Portable restrooms, including accessible facilities, will be present throughout the venue.