Girls with Guitars

Girls with Guitars: Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson, Heather Crosse

Girls with Guitars act is back with three new dynamic musicians ready to conquer the blues world. Hailing from northern Italy, Eliana Cargnelutti is an award-winning singer and guitarist who can do it all. She has already shared the stage with the crème de la crème of the Italian blues scene and has also collaborated with renowned American jazz and blues guitarist Scott Henderson. Heather Crosse, a respected bassist from Clarksdale, Mississippi, provides the earthy foundation. Her band, Heavy Suga‘ & the SweeTones, has appeared frequently at Clarksdale’s renowned Ground Zero Blues Club and has performed at major festivals, opening for such big names as B.B. King, Robert Plant and others. As a singer, Crosse looks to soul and blues icons like Etta James, Koko Taylor and Big Mama Thornton for inspiration. Sadie Johnson may be the youngest musician, but this 18-year-old wunderkind has already made a name for herself playing classic old-school country blues like Robert Johnson and the modern-day blues-rock of her hero Eric Clapton. Johnson released her first EP with her band project Sad Sam Blues Jam in 2013.

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In Layman Terms

Anyone who has ever seen the duo of Cole and Logan Layman, collectively known as In Layman Terms, knows that they are a musical force to be reckoned with, and that they’ve got a bright future ahead of them. Still in their teens, this brother and sister duo has already wowed critics and audiences alike with their own brand of gritty, soulful and foot-stomping blues. The duo won their division at last year’s Richmond River City Society’s Blues Challenge, making them eligible once again for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. They are also both inductees into the prestigious Brotherhood of the Guitar. Logan’s big bass lines and vocals that sound like a “cross between Janis Joplin and Tina Turner,” earned her Veer Magazine’s 2015 award for Best Emerging Artist.

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Friday Night Concert

Friday, Dec. 2, 2022

The Friday night concert is on Dec. 2, 2022, from 5:00-8:40pm, at the Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion. Enjoy music by the Gabe Stillman Band, Harper and Midwest Kind, and Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe.

In addition to amazing music, you can purchase local craft beer and wine, delicious food, and cool festival merchandise.

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Bradenton Blues Festival

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022

The Bradenton Blues Festival Weekend brings musicians of national and regional acclaim to the big stage on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, from 11am–7:30pm, representing a variety of blues styles.

This year’s lineup includes: Lady A, Dustin Arbuckle and the Damnations, Nora Jean Wallace, Blood Brothers featuring Albert Castiglia and Mike Zito, and Ana Popovic.

In addition to amazing music, you can purchase local craft beer, imports, domestics, and wine, delicious food, and cool festival merchandise.

This is a Sellout Festival!

Buy your tickets before planning your trip! Tickets to the 2017 and 2018 festival sold out weeks before Thanksgiving and in 2019 before Halloween.

The Bradenton Blues Festival is located at the Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion at Rossi Park. 

Purchase Blues Festival tickets here. 

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Bradenton Blues Brunch

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022

Presented by: Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille

The Bradenton Blues Brunch is Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, from 11am-2pm, at Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille featuring Dustin Arbuckle and the Damnations. Doors open at 10:30am. A limited number of tickets are available for $90 each (price includes ticketing fees, taxes, and gratuity).

Enjoy a three-course, seated-and-served brunch created by award-winning Chef Paul Mattison.

First course

  • Smoked Salmon Tostada with cream cheese and dill topped with fresh endive, orange supremes, finished with preserved lemon vinaigrette, garnished with fried capers

Second Course

  • Pork belly Croque Madame crispy pork belly, gruyere cheese, corn bread, topped with a poached egg, served on a bed of heirloom tomato butter sauce


  • Banana flambe Parfait chocolate chips, toasted granola, cinnamon rum crème fraiche

Bottomless Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, and non-alcoholic beverages are included.

Kindly note: The Bradenton Blues Brunch is offered by Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille; Realize Bradenton is only offering ticket sales for this event.

Purchase tickets to the Blues Brunch here. 

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Blues in the Schools

Realize Bradenton, the nonprofit organization that produces the annual Bradenton Blues Festival, directs proceeds raised from the event back into the community to support art and music programs for youth, including Blues in the Schools.

Blues in the Schools Video

Learn more about our Blues in the Schools initiative by clicking the video below.

More about Blues in the Schools

In addition to fostering a healthy business climate, enriching the community is another goal of the Bradenton Blues Festival, and Blues in the Schools gives us a meaningful way to support our youth arts and education initiatives. The program is made possible by festival sponsorships and ticket sales to the festival.

Become a Sponsor

A limited number of sponsorships are available. For more information regarding sponsor benefits, email

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What to Do & Where to Stay in the Bradenton Area

With a unique mix of arts, culture, heritage, and sports, Bradenton offers something for everyone—a public market, community events, cultural history museum, performing arts center, planetarium, historic Main Street, Riverwalk park, marina, aquarium, Major League Baseball, and a lively Village of the Arts.

Looking for a night out on the town? A delicious chef-inspired meal al fresco? A broadway show? Whether you’re staying for the day or a week, here’s a complete list of what you can do in downtown Bradenton during your visit!

We’re proud that Bradenton is ranked No. 2 of the top 25 small cities for the arts by American Style.

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Courtyard by Marriott Bradenton Riverfront

Stay with us on the Riverfront, with lush landscaping, Mediterranean-style fountains and a Manatee River backdrop. After the festival, rest in our well-appointed guest rooms and suites with private balconies and modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi, parking, gym, business center, on-site Bistro serving Starbucks coffee, breakfast and dinner.

Stay with us and help to support Realize Bradenton youth, art and music programs that are free to the community.

Call the Courtyard Riverfront and ask for Bradenton Blues Festival rates.

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Hampton Inn & Suites Bradenton Downtown Historic District

The award-winning Hampton Inn & Suites Bradenton Downtown is THE PLACE to stay during the Bradenton Blues Festival. Located in the heart of historic downtown Bradenton—walkable to everything, including the blues festival site. The Hampton Inn & Suites is a seven-story Historic, Mediterranean-style hotel, offering, 119 modern rooms and suites, some with balconies and water views, complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi, parking, fitness room, and outdoor heated saltwater pool. Maximize your weekend by staying one-block from Old Main Street, restaurants, nightlife, shops and the Riverwalk. A multi-day stay will maximize your enjoyment of blues-related and cultural activities.

Book your room through their website or by calling 1-800-HAMPTON using group code BBF.

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The Londoner Bed & Breakfast

The Londoner Bed & Breakfast has six beautifully-decorated bedrooms named after different areas of London, featuring pillow-top mattresses and quality linens. This 1926 house is in the heart of Historic downtown Bradenton has recently undergone extensive refurbishment. Flat screen TVs, free wi-fi, gourmet breakfasts and delightful afternoon teas await you.

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SpringHill Suites Bradenton Downtown/Riverfront

Located on the corner of the Riverwalk and historic Old Main Street, discover an all-suite hotel offering stylish space, inspiring design, and a rooftop bar and pool. Connect, work or relax with free Wi-Fi and refreshing spaces that are open and bright. Meet and mingle in inviting lobbies and jump-start your day with a complimentary hot and healthy breakfast, or visit Oak & Stone for wood-fired pizza and craft beer on the rooftop.

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Ilana Katz Katz

Between Sets

Singer, songwriter and fiddler, Ilana dives deep into the blues with her old-time, Appalachian fiddling. Her unique style has taken her to the stage and to the studio with greats such as Blues Music Award (BMA) Winner Ronnie Earl, BMA nominee Barry Levenson (Canned Heat), NY Blues Hall of Famer Bobby Radcliff, multi-Grammy nominated Cedric Watson and Grammy nominee Chas Justus. In addition to her Blues and Appalachian music mainstays, she is a versatile, improvisational musician, as comfortable performing solo in large theaters as she is being featured in 14-piece rock bands or on Boston’s subway platforms (where you can find her most Fridays).

On Ilana’s debut CD (2014), “I’ve Got Something To Tell You,” she earned a finalist spot for “Coolest Blues Song in the World 2015” by Big City Blues Magazine for her original “Marlyn’s Blues.” Ronnie Earl, who joined her on that record, also covered another of Ilana’s originals from that record – “Runnin’ in Peace” on his own “Good News” record. Her new CD (2016), “Movin’ On, features Ilana, Cedric Watson, Barry Levenson and Bobby Radcliff. Ilana’s melodic vocals and fiddling put an interesting spin on early traditional blues. She also tears it up on more modern originals and instrumentals. Don’t miss Ilana in between the other bands’ performances for non-stop, over-the-top blues!

Visit Ilana Katz Katz’s website.

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Damon Fowler

After spending much of the past year touring with the band Southern Hospitality, Damon Fowler is back with his third solo project for Blind Pig Records, Sounds of Home. Damon chose swamp blues master Tab Benoit to produce and record him at Tab’s rural Louisiana home studio, and their collaboration has resulted in Damon’s strongest effort to date. The tension between his measured, laid-back vocal delivery and the hallmark intensity of his guitar virtuosity has never been keener, and the stories told in his songwriting here – sometimes in collaboration with long-time writing partner Ed Wright and Benoit – exhibit a combination of depth, grace and humor very few of his contemporaries can match.

Visit Damon Fowler’s website.

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Ari and the Alibis

Friday, 6:00pm–7:15pm

Infusing funk, jazz and samba with blues soul and rock, Ari and the Alibis have created a memorable ear-catching sound. For having been together for just two years, this Sarasota, Florida fusion group, Ari and the Alibis, have already begun making serious waves in Florida’s vibrant music scene and carry the potential to spread their music far beyond state lines. They sport a sound often compared to Chicago, Tedeschi Trucks and Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Visit Ari and the Alibis’ website.

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Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones

Doug Deming is an American blues and roots guitarist/vocalist, born and raised in the Detroit area, currently residing on the Gulf coast of Florida. Doug is the 2013 recipient of the Blues Blast Music Awards’ Sean Costello Rising Star Award. Drawing influence from greats like T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian and Robert Jr. Lockwood, Doug’s traditional taste and style are evident in his original music, with three recordings of primarily original tunes to his credit. Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones play traditional blues, West Coast and Texas swing, and early 50’s roots rock. This is real deal rocking’ rhythm & blues!

Photo Credit: Bird Stevens

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Damon Fowler & Matt Walker

Damon Fowler & Matt Walker have toured together in Damon’s Trio, Southern Hospitality, with Butch Trucks, and the Freight Train. Together they are bringing a special acoustic show to The Bradenton Blues Brunch at Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille. A limited number of tickets are available for $50 and include a three-course, seated and served meal created by award-winning Chef Paul Mattison.

Learn more about the Blues Brunch.

Photo credit: Michelle Wilson

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