Friday, May 10, 2013

9th Wine & Jazz Festival schedule set

Gerald Albright
The main acts are nailed down for the ninth annual Punta Gorda Wine & Jazz Festival, which is scheduled February 20-22, 2014, with a main stage lineup of smooth jazz/instrumental pop saxophonists Mindi Abair, Richard Elliott and Gerald Albright, plus singer-guitarist Norman Brown.

Albright and Brown are the day’s closing act at Laishley Park along the picturesque Peace River / Charlotte Harbor waterfront. Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce President John Wright says all four will perform together at the finale.

As the event’s darling, St. Petersburg native Abair is no surprise for festival regulars. This will be her sixth consecutive appearance in Punta Gorda. Elliott will be back for second straight year, and is no doubt hoping for better weather. Blustery winds and a bit of rain cut short his February 2013 mid-afternoon set with trumpeter Rick Braun.

Norman Brown
Look for an earlier start in 2014 as the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event continues its evolution. A Thursday evening kickoff is planned during the city’s downtown Gallery Walk. Friday evening will feature a traditional meet-the-artists VIP reception.

Mindi Abair
Abair headlined a Sunday afternoon show at Laishley Park this past February, but Wright says that segment is going away. “People were just too exhausted from attending the other parts of the event,” Wright emailed me.

Richard Elliott

The festival will conclude with its third annual mainstream jazz Sunday brunch at the Isles Yacht Club. That segment is sponsored by Presley Bean Financial Services. Details to come. 

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