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Lakewood Ranch To Host Winterfest Music Festival

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20, 2013

Lakewood Ranch to Host Winterfest Music Festival
LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL—Winterfest will make its debut March 29-30, 2014, at Lakewood Ranch’s Premier Sports Campus. The two-day music festival will feature top-shelf national and local musical acts of all different types. Lakewood Ranch has hosted music events previously, but none of this magnitude.

“We’re expecting people from all over the U.S. to visit,” said Jim Chiaffredo, a spokesperson for Winterfest.

Already scheduled to appear are Country Music Hall of Fame member Jeff Cook, founder of the country supergroup Alabama; Marty Balin, a two-time member of the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame as an individual and with Jefferson Airplane, and classic-rocker Rick Derringer, who will once again be united on the same stage with multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter.

Bertie Higgins, the soft rock singer of the 1982 hit “Key Largo” and country crooner Billy Dean – whose many hits from the 1990s and 2000s include “Only Here for a Little While,” “If There Hadn’t Been You,” and “Let Them be Little” – are also scheduled to perform. Child guitar hero Jake Castro and the Billy Rice Band, a Bradenton area favorite, will also make appearances.

“We want to make this as equal across all genres as we can and there will be other acts we get signed later,” Chiaffredo said. “It was most important to us to get those acts completed early to establish the tone of the festival.”

In the following months, organizers will be signing more national acts. Local talent from the Del Couch Music Education Foundation, the Palmetto-based non-profit organization formed to provide students with opportunities to create and learn the art of music and one of the two charities benefitting from the festival, will also be added to the lineup.

“There will be 18 total shows over the two days,” Chiaffredo said. “We’re trying to get something from almost every category so we’re working on a couple of jazz and blues players, alternative acts and even some American Idol contestants.”

Winterfest will also feature 50 vendor spots for food and drink and at least 25 booths will fill an artisan village. The music will run from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day and be performed on a large stage accompanied by giant screens with perhaps a couple of smaller stages for acoustic and youth acts.

Attendees asked to bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating at the outdoor event. In addition, VIP tent spots will be for sale that come with a chair seat in front of the stage, food as well as meet and greet opportunities with select performing artists. Ticket prices have yet to be determined.

“We haven’t really set those yet but they’re in line with standard ticket prices,” Chiaffredo said. “Your price for the entire day will be less than some of the acts, and those not announced yet, charge just to see their show.”

Organizers aim to present a big event that is family friendly and will bring greater national exposure to Lakewood Ranch.

“We want to grow this into a music event that rivals some of the largest in the country,” Chiaffredo said. “And where better to do that than Lakewood Ranch and Manatee County in the winter or early spring? I can’t think of one.”

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is the other non-profit benefitting from the festival. The foundation ensures full scholarship grants as well as educational and family counseling to the surviving children of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel who lose their lives in the line of duty and immediate financial assistance for severely wounded special operations personnel and their families.

To get on the official mailing list for updates go to www.lwrwinterfest.com.


Lakewood Ranch is the 17,500-acre award-winning master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the West Coast of Florida. Just minutes from the Gulf Coast beaches, and cultural assets in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch is already home to more 15,000 residents and features A-rated schools, a hospital, the Sarasota Polo Club, the 75-acre Premier Sports Campus, the Ancient Oak Gun Club, its own Main Street with theaters, shopping and dining, and four million square feet of commercial property. For more information visit www.lakewoodranch.com. 

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