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Seafood with a side of blues

A combo that proved hugely popular last year comes to Coachman Park this weekend.

By Terri Bryce Reeves, Times Correspondent
Published February 22, 2008

Patrons line up for seafood at last year's Knology Sea-Blues Festival, which drew more than 22,000 people to the downtown park in its first year.
[City of Clearwater]
[City of Clearwater]
Derek Trucks of the Derek Trucks Band is the headline act Saturday night at the Sea-Blues Festival. The band blends jazz, rock, blues and world music.

[City of Clearwater]
Get your fill of crawfish, crab cakes, shrimp, clams, oysters and gumbo. For landlubbers, there will also be barbecue.


Dig the jams and down the clams during this weekend's celebration at Coachman Park. The Knology Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival offers big-name blues musicians, fresh catches from the sea, children's inflatables, vendors and more beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

"This event has been an overwhelming success," said Terry Schmidt, Clearwater's special- events producer. "We have people coming from all over the country. Some blues clubs are chartering planes."

The biggest draws are the Derek Trucks Band on Saturday night and blues guitarist Coco Montoya on Sunday evening, he said.

The Derek Trucks Band, originally from Jacksonville, blends jazz, rock, blues, and Latin, Eastern Indian and other world music. Montoya is a former member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and has recorded several highly acclaimed blues CDs.

Schmidt came up with the concept after noting that the city hosts a variety of music festivals, but none featuring blues.

"We also needed a seafood festival, so we put the two together," he said. "And now, after the Jazz Holiday, it's becoming Clearwater's next biggest event."

Last year's inaugural festival brought more than 22,000 people to the downtown waterfront park. Schmidt said the festival may be expanded to three days in the future.

Admission is free, thanks to sponsors and vendors. Bring your own blanket or chair to settle in anywhere within 15 feet of the stage.

Seafood lovers can choose from crab cakes, shrimp, oysters, crawfish, gumbo and more from vendors like Frenchy's restaurants and Seafood Unlimited in Orlando.

Hog Island Clams of Cedar Key will bring clams harvested from the Gulf of Mexico the night before.

CJ's Barbecue offers an alternative to seafood, and Starbucks will pass out free coffee samples.

"This is a really great event because it brings in lots of tourism dollars and is free for the local people," Schmidt said.

Check it out

Two full days

The Knology Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St. Admission is free. Bring your own blanket or chair. Coolers, food or drink, tents, pets, weapons and fireworks are not permitted. Call (727) 562-4700 for more information.

* * *



Noon: Rent Money

2 p.m.: Sack O Woe

4 p.m.: Eric Lindell

6 p.m.: Bettye LaVette

8 p.m.: Derek Trucks Band


Noon: Al "Coffee" McDaniel

12:45 p.m.: Angel for Blues

2:30 p.m.: Sue Foley

4:30 p.m.: Chris Thomas King

6:30 p.m.: Coco Montoya

[Last modified February 21, 2008, 20:23:41]

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