Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blues Return to the Beach Annual Event Expected to Draw 50,000 Music Fans

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blues Return to the Beach Annual Event Expected to Draw 50,000 Music Fans

Article excerpt

JACKSONVILLE BEACH -- Each year the Springing the Blues

festival attracts an estimated 50,000 music fans, making it one

of the largest events at the Beaches.

In an attempt to keep the crowds coming, festival organizer Sam

Veal has added a few events to the free music at the SeaWalk

Pavilion. In addition to the musical lineup for this year's

festival, which begins tomorrow, the event offers a chance to

cruise, golf and gamble. And once again, the music is spread

over four days, and even includes a concert at The Jacksonville

Landing. And there is still the 5-kilometer beach run.

Next year, Veal joked, there may even be an in-line skating

contest.

The main portion of the festival is from noon to 9 p.m.

Saturday and from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday at the oceanfront

SeaWalk Pavilion.

But the festival gets under way two days earlier, as the La

Cruise casino ship sets sail at 7 p.m. tomorrow for a Blues

Cruise on which guests can jam to the music of the Michael Burks

Blues Band while gambling.

A charity golf tournament tees it up at 1 p.m. Friday, giving

golfers the chance at another kind of spring swing.

There are also several musical performances scheduled in clubs

at the Beaches.

Two reasons people come from all over for the for the concert

are that it's big and it's free, said spokeswoman Betsy Veal.

"You can be laying out on the beach and still hear the blues,"

she said. "You don't have to be jockeying to find a seat."

But for Sam Veal it's all about the music, which ranges from

Texas and West Coast blues styles to Delta and Chicago blues.

"Our event is not necessarily about 'namesmanship'; we can't

afford that. It's about the blues," Sam Veal said about the

event that Downbeat magazine listed in its 1996 top 50

international jazz and blues festivals. …

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