Suppose you were putting on the fourth edition of a cozy little two-day festival with great talent from around the nation and around Florida. And then suppose that one of your invitees skyrocketed after he was the recipient of a Grammy at the recent awards ceremony.
That’s the moment when you crack a huge smile, confident that all of your hard work and efforts had been amply rewarded. And that is exactly what happened to the organizers of the 4th Annual Safety Harbor SongFest, an eclectic and exciting two-day music festival featuring more than 20 nationally-touring artists.
There are two stages with some time overlaps, but you can hear every artist and band there. Comprised of mainly acoustic acts, these artists pull from a wide range of influences, including blues, bluegrass, folk, country, jazz, pop, world beat and more. The festival also features local performing artists, live art demonstrations, morning yoga and great craft beer and local food trucks.
It is, however, a songfest, so we ought to talk about, you know, songs.
The Wood Brothers, from Nashville, have been on the scene for quite some time. They played at the Sunshine Music Festival in 2013. Bassist Chris and guitarist Oliver are joined by drummer Jano Rix, who also plays shuitar, whatever that is!
Rising Appalachia makes a big splash every time they are in the area with their world folk and soul. Sisters Chloë and Leah lead this Atlanta quartet.
Daphne Willis, also from Nashville, plays a little bit of everything. Kina Grannis hails from L.A. and plays a great mix of folk, pop and acoustic music.
Magic Giant also call L.A. home. This trio delights in the folk revival. And then there is Joe Craven, Mr. Everything. If there is an instrument he cannot play, he’ll have it figured out by next week. He is a magical performer and spirit.
Also on the bill: Songwriters in the Round, Trevor Green, Emily Kopp, The Accidentals, Chasing Lovely, Birds of Chicago, Kristin Diable, Charlie Mars, Victory & Penny, Urban Gypsies, Aurora Diarra, Shane Koyczan, Davin McCoy, The Mulligan Brothers, Dan Rodriguez, and Fuzz and Carrie of Caravan of Thieves.
Oh, yes. We did mention a Grammy-award winner. Fantastic Negrito won his statuette for Best Contemporary Blues Album. He and his ten-piece band are from Oakland, another Left Coast group heading to Safety Harbor. This man doesn’t just play the blues; he has lived them… survived… and rose above. This will be a treat.
There are lots of music option in the Tampa Bay area this and every weekend, but the Safety Harbor SongFest offers a relaxing slice of heaven in a magnificent setting, unless, of course, you don’t like waterfront festivals.
That’s what we thought.