CLEARWATER — The 97X Barbecue Music & Arts Festival will take place Saturday, May 18, 11 a.m., at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater.
The festival will feature a full day of music plus a celebration of the arts with live paintings and art installations. General admission tickets are $35. Visit www.97xonline.com/bbq2019.
The lineup will include performances by Taking Back Sunday, Blue October, Grandson, Flora Cash, Shaed, Oliver Tree, Matt Maeson and more. The event also will embrace the arts and culture of Clearwater by bringing select artists and their talents to Coachman Park.
Michael Vahl is among the artists participating in the festival. Vahl has developed a recognizable style with inspiration from pop art and modern culture. According to Vahl’s website, the artist was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He specializes in one-off detailed portraiture and other unique crafted styles of artwork typically depicted with oil and acrylic. Vahl has dedicated himself to the visual arts and is continuously striving to master new methods, concepts and artistry.
Born in Tampa, Nicholas Lucius is a painter, mixed media artist and an innovator in the Avant-Garde, experimenting with human subconscious through the realms of surrealism, high fashion and popular culture.
According to his website, Lucius sees his work as a “visual feast,” a vehicle to allow viewers to explore and indulge in their own existential apprehensions. His experimental paintings, mixed media print installations and digital collages incorporate elements traditionally used in conceptual and new media art. Heavily influenced from the surrealist, his large-scale paintings often start with an idea that is drawn up, painted, and collaged using images from the internet, as well as using materials like acrylic or water-soluble oil paints. The piece is then scanned into Photoshop to be digitally altered or reinvented. Once the piece is perfected, it is printed on canvas using inkjet technology. The artwork is then transformed, once again, with an abundance of mixed media.
Other artists scheduled to participate in the festival include Kyle Jennings of Hollywood, J.P. DiCarlo, Law “Swagflu” Williams and Julia Decleene.
Taking Back Sunday has been around for 20 years. The pride of Long Island has had a few member changes over the years, but the current lineup of the band -- vocalist Adam Lazzara, guitarist John Nolan, drummer Mark O’Connell and bassist Shaun Cooper — has been there since the beginning.
From the band’s landmark 2002 debut “Tell All Your Friends” to their most recent full-length, 2016’s “Tidal Wave,” Taking Back Sunday has evolved from a key player in the early 2000s emo scene to a genre-defying rock band with three gold albums without ever ceasing to push the limitations of their sound. This fact is evidenced on “Twenty,” a 21-song collection released in January via Craft Recordings that spans all seven of the band’s full-length releases and solidifies them as an act with a catalog that will undoubtedly outlive them.
Taking Back Sunday may have started out like most of their peers by playing local shows and recording demos; however, unlike most of those peers they went on to sign to a major label, tour alongside Linkin Park and become international superstars. According to a bio provided by Paradigm Talent Agency, they still speak of the band’s early days as if they just happened yesterday.
"I’ll never forget, we played Ground Zero in Long Island in 2001 and it was the first show we played where people were singing along and going crazy,” Lazzara said. “It was a tiny place that held 100 people but you could sense something had changed. After the show I remember we carried some equipment back to John’s car and we were sitting in it just not saying anything. We were just thinking, ‘that was the best thing ever.’ I was starry eyed and staring into space; I couldn’t believe that just happened."
Last year saw Blue October release “I Hope You’re Happy,” the band’s ninth studio album.
“I Hope You’re Happy,” the title track representative of the Texas outfit’s new body of work in both word and sound, is the first burst in a salvo of overwhelming positivity — a sonically abundant, rich, lusciously atmospheric, lovingly produced record.
According to a press release from Paradigm Talent Agency, early fans of the band’s work might be hard-pressed to recognize the foursome — comprised of Ryan Delahoussaye, the band’s multi-instrumentalist; Matt Noveskey on bass; and brothers Jeremy and Justin Furstenfeld, the band’s drummer and front man, respectively. The group, once known for its stormy dynamic and self-destructive tendencies, couldn’t be more distinct, today, from the band it once was. And the members of Blue October want everyone they encounter to know the great place they’re in, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
“We’ve had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and we’ve come out the other side,” said Noveskey.
The members of Blue October are putting their full weight behind this release. Furstenfeld has now been sober for six years. The band is happy and enjoying life both on the road and at home with their families. They want the best for everyone in their lives.
Grandson is a 23-year-old alternative artist hailing from Canada. Born in the small town of Englewood, New Jersey, he relocated to the cultural melting pot of Toronto at a young age, and grew up surrounded by music ranging from jazz to rock & roll to rap, dancehall and R&B.
His songwriting confronts the most pressing issues of his generation, such as financial inequality, governmental and environmental accountability and social justice. He gives these topics a soundtrack with a genuine sense of urgency and frustration, while simultaneously touching on adolescence, relationships, and the insecurities and difficulties of growing up through your 20s.
Flora Cash is a Swedish-American indie pop duo consisting of Shpresa Lleshaj and Cole Randall.
As the story goes, Minneapolis native Randall uploaded his music to Soundcloud. Across the Atlantic, Lleshaj stumbled upon his account and started leaving comments under the songs. Facebook messages gave way to an introductory phone conversation, which snowballed into marathon Skype sessions.
Within months, Shpresa booked a ticket to Minneapolis. The two soulmates met in real life, relocated to Sweden, spent three months renting a room in a London flat due to visa restrictions, and finally married back in the states. At the same time, the mystique of the music offset the exuberance of the union between them. The duo stitched together a singular style from threads of personal anxiety, struggle, and ultimately triumph.