Springing the Blues


The 28th annual Springing the Blues festival was held in Jacksonville Beach April 6, 7 and 8.

Twenty-one artists shared their love of blues music on two stages during the three-day festival at the Seawalk Pavilion.  The line-up was a Who’s Who of Blues Music Award (BMA) winners and nominees.

“Our 2018 line-up may very well be our most prolific presentation of blues music ever,” said Sam Veal, executive director of Jax Beach Festivals.

The festival opened Friday night with Markey Blue on the Pavilion Stage and Selwyn Birchwood, 2018 BMA nominee for Contemporary Blues Album and Male Artist, on the intimate Blues Lounge Stage. The night continued with the Parker Urban Trio and was topped off by Larkin Poe, BMA nominee for Best Emerging Artist and Eric Gales.

The excitement continued Saturday beginning and ending with Jacksonville locals Kim Reteguiz & the Black Cat Bones and Heather Gillis. Saturday’s artists also included the Cat McWilliams Band, teen artist David Julia, Smokestack, Band of Friends, JP Soars & the Red Hots and The Corbitt Brothers. Saturday night’s headliner, Sugaray Rayford, was nominated for four BMA awards, including Band of the Year, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and Soul Blues Album of the Year for The World that We Live In.

Sunday fans saw the Prestage Brothers, N.W. Izzard, local Mama Blue, Jonn Del Tor Richardson and the Tommy Z Band. The Festival concluded with Victor Wainwright.

In addition to music, the festival featured a food court, artisan marketplace and kids area that attracts an estimated 125,000 fans each year over three days.