One of the up-and-coming young stars of country music will headline this year’s South Shore Music Festival.
Chase Bryant, currently opening for Tim McGraw on the country icon’s summer tour, will top the bill at the festival slated for Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Showmen’s Club in Gibsonton.
“We have a stronger lineup all the way up and down this year,” said Rick Lindsey, entertainment coordinator for the festival, who was quick to point out the strengths of the 2014 lineup.
“You can’t jump in and have the super-big headliners right at the start, but it’s a growth process,” he said. “First year was good, second year is going to be a little bit better. Third year should be even better than that, same with fourth and fifth.”
“To have a guy who has cracked the top 10 in country music, who has a following, who is opening up for one of the biggest country music artists to date in Tim McGraw, to bring him to this area is absolutely huge,” said Mike Self, who helped organize the event with his friends, South Shore businessmen James Pulkowski, a CPA, and Eros Dahl of Riverview Mortgage. Self runs S&S Tacos/Pizza & Stuff, which has restaurants in Ruskin and Riverview.
Before the big show in November, two fundraisers are also on tap to benefit the event.
A comedy night, slated for 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, at The Regent, 6437 Watson Road in Riverview, will feature national headliner Michael Petit, who has been seen on Comedy Central and ESPN. The event will also include a silent auction, raffle prizes, gift baskets, a 50-50 drawing and a chance to win a Lottery Scratch-off Board. Comedian L.A. Hardy will also appear at the show. A similar comedy night fundraiser for the festival also was held at The Regent earlier this year. A packed house of 325 people turned out.
A golf tournament fundraiser is also planned for Sept. 18 at Summerfield Golf Course.
Both events will also feature a raffle for a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Proceeds from the concert benefits area military charities. Last year’s festival drew more than 700 people, raising $7,000.
Benefiting were Honor Flight of West Central Florida (the group flies local veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the monuments created in their honor); Haley House (which houses the families of veterans during their treatments at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa); the Ruskin Veterans Day Parade; and My Warrior’s Place (a Ruskin waterfront retreat for veterans and active military personnel).
Guests were also asked to bring canned food for Feeding America Tampa Bay, something organizers plan to do again.
“The expenses of the festival are almost paid,” Self said. “Everything is depending on any sponsorship money that comes in.”
Self said the festival is still hoping to land more sponsors. “Sponsorship money is not where it needs to be for this festival to stand on its own. We’re waiting for some businesses to step up that want to get involved.”
Tampa Bay Brewing Co. is one of those. The local micro-brewery is backing the festival financially and will be launching a new beer, “True Blonde Ale,” at the event.The festival will also feature a craft beer tent.
Self would also like to see others jump on board and help with organizing the event. “We’re going to need help,” he said. “That’s probably one of two biggest things we hope – after the success of this year – is that we pull in some committee members, and we pull in some more sponsorships.”
Organizers are also looking for a sponsor for a new feature at this year’s festival: a kid’s zone.
Only in its second year, the festival could become one of the premier music festivals in the county, in the eyes of its organizers.
“We’re looking for this to be long term,” Lindsey said. “This isn’t just something we’re going to do for just a little while and then hang it up.”
For more information on the event, to volunteer or find out how to become a sponsor, call Mike Self at 813-690-2201 or visit www.southshoremusicfestival.com.