South Shore Music Festival plans more acts, bigger crowds

Published on: February 11, 2015

SS-MUSIC-FESTBy KEVIN BRADY

Larger crowds, more acts and activities and, most importantly, more money for local charities are among the goals of organizers of this year’s South Shore Music Festival.

The 2015 festival is already in the planning stages, with calls for volunteers and sponsors going out for what planners want to make an annual highlight of the South County calendar.

The festival is slated for Nov. 11 at the Showmen’s Club in Gibsonton.

“We just made our first offer on a huge breakout artist who is projected to have a big breakout year,” said Mike Self, one of the organizers. “I can’t give names due to contractual negotiations, but he is in the top 10 breakout artists in the country. Our goal this year is to have a second stage.”

Despite inclement weather late in the day, last year’s musical shindig drew more than 700 people, raising $7,000 for Honor Flight of West Central Florida, Haley House, the Ruskin Veterans Day Parade and My Warrior’s Place in Ruskin.

Honor Flight flies local veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the monuments created in their honor. Haley House welcomes the families of veterans during their treatments at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa. My Warrior’s Place is a Ruskin waterfront retreat for veterans and active military personnel.

Festivalgoers were also asked to bring canned food for Feeding America Tampa Bay, something organizers plan to do again this year.

The festival last year featured country music star Jason Michael Carol, Gwen Sebastian, Mason Grace and the Soul Circus Cowboys, among others.  “I was humbled by the turnout,” said Self, who helped organize the event with his friends, South Shore businessman James Pulkowski, CPA; and Eros Dahl of Riverview Mortgage. Self runs S&S Tacos/Pizza & Stuff, which has restaurants in Ruskin and Riverview.

Taking their cues from the success of last year’s festival, organizers plan another chili cook-off contest with even bigger prizes as well as a children’s play area. Organizers are also reaching out to performers who appeal to teens.

“We will also add a kid zone this year,” Self said.

Based on the artists the festival is courting, Self expects more than 1,500 to attend this year’s 10-hour-plus festival.

Honor Flight and Haley House will again be among the beneficiaries of the show. Within a week, organizers also plan to announce a partnership agreement with a major South County business.

Rick Lindsey of Family Time Entertainment also joins the team this year. “He has worked for Kenny Rogers, the Charlie Daniels Band, just so many people,” Self said.

Also on tap is a Family Fun Day and Cornhole Tournament, set for 1 p.m., Saturday, March 7, at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Apollo Beach.

A fundraising comedy night at The Regent in Riverview is slated for May 1, an event organizers hope to make their biggest annual fundraiser.

Comedian Tim Wilkins will headline a comedy night fundraiser for the South Shore Music festival May 1 at The Regent.

Comedian Tim Wilkins will headline a comedy night fundraiser for the South Shore Music festival May 1 at The Regent.

Tampa native Tim Wilkins, who has opened for Aretha Franklin, the Righteous Brothers, Styx and Wynonna Judd,  will headline the show. Wilkins prides himself on being a “clean comic,” according to his website. Tickets for the show — $55 for couples and $35 for singles — go on sale Sunday, March 1. Table sponsorships for the event are available.

“This is our big year now, after the success of last year’s festival,” Self said.

For more information on the event, to volunteer or to find out how to be a sponsor, call Mike Self at 813-690-2201 or visit www.southshoremusicfestival.com.

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