bands on the bay

The Bands on the Bay event at Safety Harbor, set for Saturday, March 2, benefits the food pantry at the Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center, as well as the Take Stock in Children program connected to the Kiwanis Club of Safety Harbor.

SAFETY HARBOR — The Black Honkeys, Jeff Vitollo & the Quarter Mile Rebels, Shevonne and The Force, and other musicians are returning once again to Safety Harbor Waterfront Park on Saturday, March 2, to rock, play the blues and jam their hearts out to raise money for local children and youth programs.

The Bands on the Bay event grows yearly, bringing thousands to this tidy town on Tampa Bay to discover locally brewed craft beer, stroll under the trees, and enjoy the sights and sounds of a community pulling together to help others.

The annual gathering of bands and fans inspires people to donate money to important causes.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds will be split between the two nonprofits, the Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center and the Kiwanis Club of Safety Harbor Foundation,” said Charrie Moscardini, who handles public relations for the Mattie Williams center, which has been serving families in Safety Harbor since 1994.

“The center will use its share to bolster our relatively new food pantry, and the Kiwanis Club will use its money to purchase a full, Take Stock in Children college scholarship for a local child,” Moscardini said. “Any remaining funds will be used to sponsor teachers in the local schools.”

For those who are new to the philanthropic universe of Safety Harbor, the Mattie Williams food pantry was launched very quickly after another support organization, Church and Community Outreach moved after serving the neighborhood for 17 years.

“I was at the meeting when our executive director told us we were starting a new Food Pantry within two weeks, and we (the staff) were all shocked,” Moscardini said. “But we did it!”

Since it was created a little more than a year ago, the pantry has routinely clothed and fed about 70 families. That means in addition to clothing and shoes, the center provides bread, milk, chicken, pasta, vegetables, fruit, soup, cereal — you name it. And it’s a challenge keeping those shelves filled, day in and day out; local families and individuals visited the food pantry more than 16,000 times.

Bands on the Bay, which raised about $18,000 for the center last year, helps keep the pantry’s shelves filled, Moscardini said.

The Kiwanis Club of Safety Harbor uses Bands on the Bay proceeds for the Take Stock in Children scholarship program. Student candidates, who are chosen as early as elementary school, are mentored by a responsible adult. Students must maintain good grades through graduation. Once they pick a college, Take Stock pays 100 percent of the students’ tuition for a two-year or four-year degree program.

Elaine Hawkins, president-elect of the Safety Harbor Kiwanis, said Kiwanis has sponsored Take Stock students since 1995.

“To serve Kiwanis’ mission of changing the world one child at a time, the Bands on the Bay also helps fund our other education programs,” Hawkins said.

The programs include the Kiwanis’ “Bring Up Grades” (BUG) program, which recognizes kids who improve their grades from one report card to the next. BUG is underway at Safety Harbor, Eisenhower, and Leila G. Davis elementary schools. The fundraiser also helps pay for a clothing bank at Safety Harbor Middle School. “Bands on the Bay is an incredible way to raise money, it’s such a great boost for our community,” Hawkins said.

Here’s a quick look at the lineup:

3 p.m. — Jeff Vitollo & The Quarter Mile Rebels mix rockabilly, blues and the roots of rock with swagger, attitude and fun.

4:30 p.m. — Shevonne and The Force, a funky Bohemian style that features sounds ranging from pop, reggae, fun-rock to soul and blues. Founder Shevonne Philidor appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2010 and American Idol in 2016.

6:30 p.m. — Soul Circus Cowboys bring a new edge to country rock. Their debut album, Love’s Like A Rodeo, defined “Tailgate Country,” the band’s signature high-performance, fuel-injected southern rock. Voted “Best Country Band” in the Tampa Bay Area in Creative Loafing’s 2018 “Best of the Bay.” 

8:30 p.m. — The Black Honkeys, a popular Tampa-area R&B, funk, soul, and rock and roll band, plays a high-energy mix of covers and originals. Keeping a multi-year streak going, they were again voted “Best Soul/R&B/Funk Band in the Tampa Bay Area in Creative Loafing’s 2018 “Best of the Bay.”

Here are some details about the event:

Big Storm Brewery will offer its various craft beer, while other vendors provide domestic beer and wine.

In addition to bands and beer, event organizers said several food trucks will be onsite, including Sarge’s Smokehouse BBQ; The Dude & His Food; The Kings Bistro; Flip’n Tasty Filipino and more,’ as well as clothing, jewelry, and other vendors.

Bands on the Bay is Saturday, March 2, at Waterfront Park, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor.