By Charmaine Engelsman-Robins
Enjoying the end of 2018 and bidding it a fond farewell
What a great month Siesta Key has in store for music and food lovers! December begins with a huge family-friendly event at the pavilion of Siesta Key Public Beach (948 Beach Road) and ends with a romantic New Year’s Eve party at one of the funkiest and most popular clubs in Siesta Village. Even if most of 2018 stunk (literally and figuratively), this closing month just may make up for it and get 2019 off to a good start.
O.K. So right from the get-go the music offering is over the top, all day long, and a blast for everybody. Bring the whole family to spend a day or two out on Siesta Beach enjoying the 3rd Annual Siesta Seafood and Music Festival (Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day). If you’ve never been to this beautiful setting named best beach in the U.S. by Dr. Beach and was also named tops on TripAdvisor’s ranking, you’ll see how it earned those accolades.
We’ll leave most of the non-music details to the festival web site (https://tinyurl.com/y7rq23qw) and focus here on the details of this gathering of some of the area’s best bands all in one place for you, plus four renowned tribute bands. Here’s your guide to who is playing what on which day at what time:
ON SATURDAY, December 1 – The day’s music begins at 11 a.m. with an hour of the exotic Caribbean sounds of the Sarasota Steel Pan Band. If you’ve never heard this type of music you’ll probably be surprised by how beautiful and different it is, and so evocative of the islands you could hear it in a subway and imagine yourself in the tropics. On one of the world’s greatest beaches, it’s absolutely perfect!
Then in a change of pace, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. it’s absolute get down soul and funk from Reverend Barry and the Funk, so if you haven’t done so already, you’ll kick off your flip flops and dance in the sugar soft white quartz sand like a native … and who could blame you? This is great dancing music!
If you’re a fan of all things reggae, save a little of that energy for the Bob Marley Tribute Band featuring Yvad; their 90 minute set begins at 2:30 p.m., Monday, and keeps that island beat alive till 4:00 p.m.
After a little break you’re in for a double treat, and it couldn’t be more fitting: at 4:30 p.m. the Beach Boys tribute group, The Shindigs take the stage to bring you those great tunes and harmonies that rocked so many of our summers, and still do. They’ll keep it coming until 6 p.m., but at 5:36 p.m. you might want to turn around to watch one of our nothing-short-of-spectacular Siesta sunsets.
PLEASE NOTE – VERY SPECIAL GUESTS on Saturday are the adoptable pets from the Humane Society of Sarasota County, arriving in style via the HSSC’s “Big Mac” mobile adoption center. The holidays are coming, now is the perfect time to show a little love by adopting, sponsoring an animal, volunteering, or making a general donation to this great organization that really busts butt to assist and save animals in distress all year long. The staff and the animals need your support; please do whatever you can!
ON SUNDAY, December 2 – You are gonna have so much fun with these four great bands! The music starts at 11 a.m. with an hour of Latin funk, Motown music and very danceable R&B from the wildly popular Big Night Out.
Next up is Florida’s own Kettle of Fish, 12:30 – 2 p.m., featuring what their lead singer sometimes describes as “songs you forgot you knew and loved” as well as some “originals that don’t sound like originals.” A seasoned group with the confidence to go their own way and bring audiences something not heard from every other band, their following continues to grow while they hold a faithful fan base that often includes a celebrity face or two in the audience.
Closing out the day and the festival are two tribute bands that are bound to please music lovers from both the beachy south and the urban north. Parrotheads will delight in the 2:30 – 4 p.m. performance by Jimmy Buffet Tribute band, Caribbean Chillers … and because you’ll be out in the open air with the beach breeze blowing, you don’t even need to feel self-concious about singing along. (It’s Buffet. You know you want to.)
Closing act is for the rockers among us. Prepare to enjoy a little bit of Britain with Rolling Stones tribute group, The U.S. Stones at 4:30 p.m. and playing right through another gorgeous Siesta sunset until 6 p.m.
So that should get your December off to a good start, and we all know what comes next, right? Hectic weeks of holiday shopping, preparation and celebration with friends and relatives, sometimes referred to as The Annual Years-End Dysfunction-Palooza. Uh-huh.
When you’ve had more than enough of all the work that goes into creating the childlike wonder of Christmas, get ready for a grown up send off for 2018. Put away the shorts, flip flops, and (intentionally) ugly Christmas sweaters. Take a deep breath. Get out your holiday finest and reward yourself for getting through this holiday season … indeed this crazy year … by indulging in an adult evening of New Years Eve partying at the Blase Cafe & Martini Bar. (Reservations suggested: 941.349.9822, your call will be returned.) Throughout the evening there will be special food and drink offerings, with Callie Chappell and the Whole Band playing from 7 p.m. till midnight, when free champagne helps you end the evening and the year.
I hope it was a good one, and that your 2019 will be even better.