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Applying to Perform at the Festival

Each fall, we begin with an artist list that far exceeds the number we can realistically program. Throughout the process many new artists are discovered. We hire performers based on the strength of their performances and material, plus their fit with our event. We usually avoid repeating artists over several years to give others an opportunity, and to present a fresh program to the audience.

The performer application deadline for the 2015 festival was October 15, 2014. Applications for 2016 will be available in August 2015.

Performer Schedule

Headliners for 2015

Roy Schneider & Kim Mayfield

Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Roy Schneider, along with duo partner Kim Mayfield, have toured through 37 states in their Honda Odyssey nicknamed Ulysses, bringing their tasty and beguiling stew of  roots, folk and Americana music to all who will listen. Roy & Kim have developed a loyal and growing fan base from performing at festivals and competitions such as the 30A Songwriters Festival, Telluride Blues and Brews Festival (Acoustic Blues,) Falcon Ridge Folk Festival's Emerging Artist Showcase, and the Kerrville Folk Festival's New Folk competition. Other notable past performances include the MAD fest in Yorkshire, England, Nashville's Bluebird Cafe, and Roy's appearance as a contestant on NBC's "The Voice." Schneider is also a gifted accompanist and has  performed on stage with Gove Scrivenor, Buddy Mondlock, Grant Peeples, Freebo, John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Tom Paxton among others. The latest release, "Walls That Talk," was fan funded and features select tracks on Pandora radio. www.royschneider.com

Lon and Lis Williamson

Lon and Elisabeth Williamson, musical partners and sweethearts for 35 years, are well known around the Sunshine State and the Southeast for their artistry as a duo, blending eloquent harmonies with accomplished musicianship. Their instrumentation includes upright bass, guitar,
tenor guitar and banjo. Add to that their dynamic repertoire of award-winning originals, old-time, jazz, swing, and bluegrass tunes and you'll have a show that you're not likely to soon forget.  When not on the road, the Williamsons spend time at their home in the Florida sandhills, where they write and record their own music as well as produce and record music of artists from all over the southeast.  www.reverbnation.com/elisabethwilliamson

The New 76ers

The New 76ers are an acoustic folk trio from Tallahassee, Florida. Their sound comes from a collective respect for acoustic and electric music.  As a family, they rely on instinct to meld vocals into harmonies and let them take the spotlight. They are deep-rooted in Southern musical heritage & their original music aspires to move you physically and spiritually. Their mission is to give love through music and they believe that music is, and always will be, a force to compel change. The New 76ers strip their music down to its purest form which makes it timeless, relevant and accessible to everyone. Come and listen with an open heart and hear real music played by real people. www.acoustichappiness.com

Radoslav Lorković

Drawing from a multitude of influences ranging from elegant classical and jazz styles to the
rawest, most basic blues, country and soul, Radoslav Lorkovic has taken on an unusually broad
musical spectrum and refined it into his distinctive piano style. His tenure on the R&B and folk
circuits has culminated in five critically acclaimed solo recordings and numerous appearances on
the recordings of and performances with artists including Odetta, Jimmy LaFave, Ribbon of
Highway Woody Guthrie Tribute, Greg Brown, Richard Shindell, Ellis Paul, Ronny Cox, Dave
Moore, Andy White, and Bo Ramsey. His thirty year touring career has led him from the taverns
of the upper Mississippi River to the castles of Italy, The Canary Islands, The Yup’ik villages of
Alaska, The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. www.radoslavlorkovic.com


Showcase Performers for 2015


2PM is Pete Price, Pete Hennings, and Mike Jurgensen, a trio of talented musicians who blend their varied musical talents into an eclectic mix of material, from original songs to well-known standards. With Price on guitar and bass, Hennings on guitar, bass, mandolin, and violin, and Jurgensen on guitar and harmonica, these three performers combine tight instrumentation with pristine vocal harmonies to delight audiences of all musical tastes. All three are talented songwriters and have performed solo as well as with other bands. 2PM has two CDs: "Let's Just Play One More", and “Keepin’ Time”.


 Al Scortino has been playing and writing songs for over twenty years, yes, he’s old!  He was strictly a closet singer/songwriter for many years, until being lured to a jam session many moons ago at a small music store in Melbourne Fl.  One thing led to another and soon he was playing at open mics in the area.  The rest as they say, is history.  Al recently won first place for Best Contemporary Song at the North Florida Acoustic Music festival for his song “ Just Like You.”  And won second place last year at the South Florida Folk Festivus national songwriting competition. He has been a multiple Will McLean Festival Florida Song award winner, and several time finalist in the South Florida Folk Festival's Song Writing competition. Al has also been a finalist at the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival in Abingdon, MD and the Flat Rock Music Festival in Flat Rock, NC. Al plays acoustic and electric guitars, Hawaiian and lap steel guitar, and dobro. Prior to forming the very popular Florida folk group, The Ashley Gang, with his compadre Paul Garfinkel, Al released two solo recordings. His songs tell stories about simple folk and places, from the local fisherman making a trip down the River Road to a band of notorious early twentieth century Florida outlaws, who were gunned down in Sebastian, called the Ashley Gang!


Bill & Kate Isles In 1993, Bill Isles (Duluth, MN) was a rare survivor of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. As a result, he returned to music, after 25 years, and met Kate at his first CD release. Their concerts are a mix of compelling storytelling, articulate vocals, lush harmonies and comedy. Words like “Transcendent” and “Mesmerizing” and “Slapstick” are among the audience descriptions of a Bill & Kate Isles performance. Hundreds have seen them perform at Sarasota area house concerts in the past few years.


Bing Futch has been playing mountain dulcimer for over 30 years and his dynamic way with the instrument has taken him from California to New York as a nationally touring solo performer.  An award-winning singer/songwriter, as well as a player of Native American flute and ukulele, he has brought the mountain dulcimer to new audiences from the main stage at the Florida Folk Festival to the semifinals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.



Brian Smalley sings with a soulful, earthy voice, and his live performances tend to be just that: Lively! For the past twenty years Brian has made music his sole occupation, and has six CDs under his belt: his latest "Key" is an acoustic novel set in the Florida Keys telling the fictional story of Painter Kellet & Compass Rose. This CD is similar but very different from his acoustic novel from 2013 "Chickens Pigs" which is an acoustic play based in Civil War era Florida and was recently named Best Florida Folk CD of 2013 by the Florida Times-Union. A great many of the songs are set in and inspired by Florida, a state of mind and a state of nature that he loves to write about and longs to see preserved. For Brian Smalley the wander-lust continues, and he is willing to travel anywhere to perform and hopefully inspire a little love and peace along the way.


Charley Simmons
From early days of plinkin’ on a forty-dollar Sears & Roebuck guitar, to his present status as a performing and recording artist, Charley Simmons has made a lifetime of entertaining people with his music. Born in 1950 and raised on a farm near Blackiston Crossroads, Delaware, Charley began playing the guitar at age nine. “Winters were long
and cold there, and living out in the country left you lots of practice time”. By the age of sixteen, Charley was earning money traveling and performing throughout the state with a band, but it wasn’t until his move to St. Augustine, Florida in 1970, and his exposure to the late Gamble Rogers, that he began to develop his own finger picking solo style. Since that time, Charley has been 1992 Utah State Flattop Guitar Champion, the 2002 Wyoming State Fingerstyle Champion, the winner of the 2003 Gamble Rogers Fingerstyle Guitar Competition and a winner in the 2005 KRCL Singer/Songwriter Competition. Charley’s music is as diverse as his musical influences have been, drawing on folk, blues, bluegrass and jazz.


Elaine Mahon
Gainesville, Florida native Elaine Mahon’s work in extragalactic astronomy earned her a Ph.D. and imbued her with a broad perspective that strengthened her appreciation for nature, the primary source for  her lyrical imagery. Her second album,  RISE (Gatorbone Records) was recognized as one of the top albums of  2013. Songs on RISE received considerable international airplay and RISE was even named “Album of the Week” by BBC, Scotland.  Its  title cut, “Rise Up Singing” won First Prize in Boston’s Family Folk Chorale songwriting contest and was listed by Maggie Ferguson of WXOU, MI  as the#1 Song of 2013.  Elaine has performed her songs with artists such as Pierce Pettis, Richard Gilewitz, Acoustic Eidolon and the Gatorbone Band.  A wife and  mother of a son in college, Elaine is also co-founder and coordinator of Sandhill Stage in Gainesville: a premier acoustic venue that serves to benefit two non-profit conservation organizations: Alachua Conservation Trust and Conservation Burial, Inc.


Emmett Carlisle
Florida boy working on my 7th CD of original songs. Americana, Bluesgrass,and Folk Rock love songs mixed together might describe the sound. Some songs are about the history, environment, and characters of the Great State Of Florida.
I play most of the big Festivals in Florida including the Will Mclean Festival, Gamble Rogers Festival, Florida Folk Festival, Sarasota Folk Festival, Clay County Fair, and many venues around the State.
My newest CD is "Higher Hopes Bigger Dreams," was awarded CD Of The Year (Song Writer) by the Jacksonville Times-Union. I am now writing songs for #8. Thanks to everyone who likes and shares with the coolest folks of all --The Fans. Peace.


Frank Julian sings a little, plays some guitar, and every now and then writes a song. His song "Songs of Florida" was selected 2nd place winner at the 2011 Will McLean Festival. He placed in the Will McLean Festival Top Ten in 2013 with his "The Sawgrass and the Pines" song and also co-authored another Top Ten 2013 Festival song with his friend Pete Kuhn entitled "Durney Key". He is also a member of "Hudson Creek."


Grant Peeples
Gatorbone recording artist Grant Peeples rides around the country in a Honda Fit playing for small gatherings  (sometimes they’re really small) that get his stuff. John Conquest of Third Coast Magazine says:   “Grant is the only songwriter I have ever referred to as  ‘ruthless.’”    Grant’s mother finds his songs  ‘disturbing.’  His latest release, “Indiscretion,” carries a parental control label, but is for childish adults. 



The Honey Creepers Band is a southwest Florida-based trio serving up swinging, toe-tapping music for audiences all over the state. Classic rock, R&B, contemporary pop, standards from the Great American Songbook: all are musical wells from which HCB draws.  With expert instrumental work and stunning, three-part harmonies, this is a band on fire! And in the right setting, they’ll even pull out a selection of originals that will bring audiences to their feet—to applaud AND to dance.  Vocalist Prana Songbird puts her unique stamp on every song she sings, whether it was penned by Johnny Mercer, John Lennon or John R. Butler.  Bassist/multi-instrumentalist/song writer Randy Hilderman adds a driving bottom and background vocals.  Guitarist/back-up vocalist/award-winning song writer John R. Butler throws in the right touches to make the Honey Creepers Band a unique musical experience.


The Hummingbirds
This multiple Detroit Music Award winning duo have been creating a buzz around the state of Florida since their recent move to the Tampa area. From roots to rock, country to folk, it's difficult to pigeonhole these two into only one genre.  They have a raw & honest sound that will take you back in time as you listen to sweet harmonies and watch their magical chemistry on stage.



Ishmael Katz is particularly enthralled by eastern mystical spirituality which he blends with amusing songs about caffeine, kettle korn, saturated fat (sensing a theme here?).  He somehow manages to meld these lyrical styles  using blues, ragtime, jug band, folk and country music.Go to YouTube and type in ‘I Had A Life Outside of Facebook’.   If you don’t like this video you should probably skip his performance. He has performed at the last 10 Florida Folk Festivals, Lk. County Folk Festival and many Sarasota Folk Festivals.  His songs have been heard on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ and on national radio and tv in Canada.


Jackson Creek labels it's style of music as "Fiddle - Folk - Grass." They have a dynamic blend of music including folk, bluegrass, and fiddle tunes with a bit of Gospel, cowboy, and Civil War music mixed in. Many of their songs are originals by Joe Waller written about family, Florida, and home. There truly IS something for everyone! Jackson Creek's recent CD, "I Wish I Was..." was awarded Traditional Folk CD of the Year 2013 by the Rural Roots Music Commission which is a subsidiary of the National Traditional Country Music Association.


James Hawkins is a Kentucky native who has lived in the Venice/Sarasota for about 30 years. He started writing songs and hitting the open mics around the Venice-Sarasota area in the mid-80’s. James has performed at the Florida Folk Festival, Barberville, Will McLean Festival, Gamble Rodgers Festival, South Florida Folk Festival, Suwannee Spring fest and the Sarasota Folk Festival. He shares a radio program, called "Sunday Folk Show" with Ishmael Katz on WSLR lpfm 96.5. James' song, "Swept Away" has been recorded by a number of people, and is often heard around the fire at Florida folk festivals. He tells stories, writes songs and sings about Florida and American history.


Jamieson Roberts
Michael Roberts and Debbie Jamieson bring to every performance tasty guitar work and soul-stirring harmonies, along with a relaxed and assured stage presence. They beam into their audience and the audience beams back. Fresh and sometimes bold reinterpretations of better-known songs (from Pancho & Lefty to Woodstock and Seminole Wind) as well as fun and a touch of romance in their original materials (Pity Party, Weeki Wachee, How About You, Hurricane for You), audiences will find themselves tapping their toes, nodding their heads, singing along and enjoying the ambience that Jamieson Roberts creates.


Jefferson Ross
Southern folk artist, Jefferson Ross, is a songwriter, singer, guitar slinger and painter weaving stories for the ears and the eyes. Based in The Peach State, Jefferson travels throughout the U.S. and Europe performing his original music and sharing his art. For years, Jefferson lived in Nashville playing for a number recording artists including, Canada’s Entertainer of the Decade, Terri Clark, and sharing the stage with Country Music greats such as George Strait, Toby Keith, Reba and Vince Gill.  He worked as a staff writer for a number of publishers on Music Row including Curb Music, one of the top music publishers in the world.


Jennings & Keller is Laurie Jennings Oudin and Dana Keller, an award-winning acoustic duo based out of Miami, FL.  They bring a wealth of experience to their collaboration, from the Broadway musicals of New York to the honky tonks of West Texas. Their music is called ‘Fusion Folk Americana’—a blend of many different elements that comes from their vast and wide-ranging musical backgrounds.  Laurie is a former Shakespearean actress who has spent many years on the stage.  Her theater background combined with a lifetime of professional singing gives her an obvious command of the stage as well as the songs she sings.
Dana Keller is a veteran pedal steel, dobro and guitar player who has spent years performing on stage or in the studio with such luminaries as Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Stevie Wonder, Larry Graham, Marvin Gaye, Dave Mason, Johnny Rodriguez and The Allen Brothers, to name a few.  Dana has been an endorsee of the Gretsch Guitar and Drum Company since 1980.  His dobro playing has been called ‘jaw-droppingly good’.


Jim Gilmour
These days, Jim Gilmour is bouncing between St Petersburg, Florida and Rutland, Vermont. Jim began writing songs in earnest in 1998. After twenty years of supporting other artists as producer, sound engineer, and side musician, in 2003, Jim finally released a solo CD. The CD “Quarterline” produced by Ben Wisch and the follow up "Flatworld". He has worked with artists such as Moors and McCumber, James Mee, Russ Lawton, Rick Redington, Duane Carleton, Foxtrot Zulu, and many, many others, including a fun stint with the Celtic band, Wind That Shakes the Barley. Jim’s style is casual, and confident, and his comfortable delivery of anecdotes and audience interaction results in a captivating, if not curious, show.


La Grange
The band consists of three Lake County Musicians with two Songwriters, John French and Paul Smithson. Joe Ramirez on Bass Guitar and Vocals. John on Guitar and Vocals. Paul on Guitar, Mandolin and Vocals. La Grange plays locally and in festivals across Florida. www.johnfrenchsongs.com


Laney Jones & the Spirits
Laney Jones is a young singer-songwriter from Mount Dora, Florida whose dynamic style resists simple categorization. Though her writing and playing is heavily influenced by traditional American roots music, she brings her influences into the present through her honey voice and poignant lyricism. A wandering troubadour, she'd performed everywhere from cafes and bars to the nation's most prestigious concert venues including the John F Kennedy Center in Washington DC and Lincoln Center in New York City. Jones recently joined forces with an airtight band, dubbed 'the Lively Spirits', to augment her own multi-instrumental prowess with exciting, textured arrangements. They recently signed on with Concerted Efforts Booking Agency.


Larry Mangum
Jacksonville, FL singer/songwriter LARRY MANGUM has nearly 3000 performances over 4 decades as a folk, rock, country and Americana artist. A Floridian since 1970, known for his butter smooth voice, Larry has released 9 albums of original music and 2 live albums since 1980 with his latest, “I KNOW WHY THE HIPPIE GIRLS DANCE” in 2015! An award winning songwriter, Larry writes from a keen sense of observation and experience, capturing the moments that reveal the human truths that bind us all together. An evening of Larry’s songs is an emotional roller coaster touching the heart, the mind and the soul that stays with the listener long after the performance.


Lauren Nicole Heintz returns to Sarasota after placing third in the 2015 Will McLean Festival song contest and after receiving a plethora of awards from around the country, including Honorable Mentions at both the Woody Guthrie and Mid-Atlantic song contests. Her fingerstyle guitar stylings and distinctive voice will mesmerize. She’s also a recent winner of the 2014 South Florida Folk Festival performing competition and the 2013 Walnut Valley Festival song contest. Her 2012 album, Feels Like a Miracle, at last count includes four award-winning songs, but there are no “fillers” on this beautiful CD!”



Lucky Mud
The love of a beautifully written lyric paired with a melody that fits the words so seamlessly that they cannot be separated without mournful loss. The ability to reach out and touch an audience with a voice that comforts, or stings. A voice that amuses or inspires. Words have power and a great melody enhances that power. That's "Mud" music. Their love of a great song has taken them on journeys throughout the world. From the Legendary Linen Hall, in Castlebar, Ireland to Campbell's Pub on the wild coast of County Mayo in the west of Ireland and beyond to the Island of Sark, in the tidy bowl blue English Channel to the bridge bound streets of Newcastle upon Tyne in Northern England. From Bandera,Texas ( yes, it is another country) to the beautiful hills of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada Lucky Mud has shared their Florida swamp roots "Mud" born music. Lucky Mud has opened for and shared stages with both the infamous and famous musicians currently touring today. From the legendary songwriter Eric Taylor to the irreverent Grant Peeples. From the mesmerizing talents of the California Folk Duo, Paul Kamm & Eleanore MacDonald to the sultry voiced Sally Spring. The music, and nothing but the music, matters.


Mary Beth Campbell & Friends consists of Mary Beth Campbell, singer/songwriter who plays acoustic guitar; Chris Campbell, musician/songwriter who plays stand-up bass and harmonica; musician/songwriter Sean Curran, on fiddle; Mike Gray, guitar and vocals and Diane Mayer, background vocals and rhythm.   Also note that Sean will be unable to join the group at the Sarasota Folk Festival this year, so Billy Jickell will fill in with his dazzling mandolin accompaniment.  Various other special guests accompany the group from time to time. The group performs a spirited mix of original songs, which blend Americana, Folk, Bluegrass and Country styles.  Mary Beth also writes songs specifically about Florida. 


Mike Campbell is a prolific song writer who has performed at festivals across the USA and in Great Britain. His original songs draw from his life, his family and his odd, crazy brain. Mike is a familiar figure at festivals around the State of Florida and is best known for his humorous songs and his deep, bass-baritone voice. He has four CD recordings of his original songs, many of which have been sung and recorded by other artists. Mike's songs can make you laugh, warm your hearts, or cause you to think about life.  More information is available at his website at http://www.arctic.net/~mooseman


Mindy & the Hot Pockets are: Mindy Simmons, Lisa Bohn and Annie Murphy. Mindy and her singing partners put together well blended arrangements of Mindy’s original songs as well as many of their favorite cover tunes. Striving for expressive individuality and uniqueness Mindy and the Hot Pockets work tirelessly to bring fresh new arrangements to songs that reflect their visions of hope, ambitions for peace, and goal of bringing joy and laughter to their stages.


Founded in 2009, Passerine has been featured at music festivals around the state as well as touring nationally, playing every sort of venue from intimate listening rooms to big festival stages.  They are currently in the studio, working on their 3rd full-length CD. Their music occupies a zone somewhere between modern folk, progressive bluegrass, and what is loosely called “Americana.” With original songs as well as their own arrangements of traditional songs, Passerine hopes to carry on the living tradition of acoustic folk music. In this quest, they have found inspiration across a wide musical spectrum: from Jimmy Rogers and Bill Monroe to Lucinda Williams and Old Crow Medicine Show; from Bob Dylan and Neil Young to Cracker and the Black Keys, from Kate Wolf and Nanci Griffith to Amy Winehouse. By combining diverse musical interests with instrumentation usually associated with a traditional string band, and with vocal harmonies that sometimes move outside the usual structures, Passerine has created a sound both familiar and unique, whether the song is a sweet ballad, a foot-stomping bluegrass tune, or one of their more rocking originals. http://passerinemusic.net


Rebecka Pulley Twosome
Rebekah Pulley is a St. Petersburg, FL based singer-songwriter and performer whose sultry, seasoned voice has been described as jaw dropping, with a tendency to break your heart and shake your soul. Her songwriting, live performances, and recordings have wryly evolved, tapping roots-rock, blues, old-school country & western, jazz, and even gospel earning her 6 'Best Of The Bay’ awards from Tampa Bay’s own Creative Loafing. Her original songs are potent shots of reality, sugar coated in melodies that are the kind you wish you had found first. She writes songs about how nobody’s cool anymore. Rebekah was raised in a musical household on wheels (aka: Winnebago) with her nine siblings throughout the most rural areas of Alaska, East Texas, and Washington State. A self taught guitarist, she gained an ear for music by listening to her father play his rockabilly style guitar with country greats such as Charlie Ryan with whom he recorded the original version of Hot Rod Lincoln. Rebekah’s latest release, Tralala, was the top played CD on Tampa’s WMNF 88.5 FM in 2013 and is a must have for even the most discerning Americana, Alt-Country, and Folk music fans.


Scott & Michelle Dalziel
"Scott and Michelle are sort of throw backs to the really great musicians that I've worked with back in the 60s. I have not heard playing and singing of their caliber in a while" - Bruce Swedien.
---Winner: 2013 Vic Heyman Songwriting Competition at South Florida Folk Festivus
---Finalist: 2004 and 2007 Kerville Newfolk Songwriting Competition
---Finalist: 2009 Susquehanna Folk Festival Songwriting Competition


Woji & Kozloff
Internationally acclaimed Singer/Songwriters Woji & Kozloff combine Appalachian old time folk with Texas roots country & blues. A Pennsylvania native, Kozloff now reside in Sarasota. Woji is a Jersey Shore Ex-Pat turned West Texas Desert Rat. Since a chance meeting at the 2013 Sarasota Folk Festival, the duo of Woji & Kozloff has been performing extensively throughout Florida, Texas and the Northeast for the last 2 years. "Kozloff's approach is emotive, clear and controlled, reminiscent of the best of the revivalist, such as Joan Baez or Anne Hills...She gives a heartfelt performance with ravishing, wide ranging vocals" says the Old-Time Herald. Woji's music has been describes as "acoustic-wielding, sharply observed, Americana all the way" AmericanaUK, and "In the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, but certainly with his own voice and with powerful songs" according to Moors Magazine, Netherlands


Yo Mamas
The chemistry is contagious... Get ready for a roller coaster ride through a maze of life's adventures with Carolyn Dunn, "Bass Playin' Grandma" who will have you rollin with laughter!... and Carly Bak, "Moonshine Mama" Who's gutsy, soulful vocals will keep you beggin for more!...and Jim Dunn, "Daddy-o" who will play some wicked leads.




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