Giving Hunger the Blues music festival returns November 15th and 16th

The 23rd annual Giving Hunger the Blues music festival returns November 15th and 16th at its new home, the Sarasota Polo Grounds in Lakewood Ranch. This year’s theme is a celebration of the music of Woodstock, the iconic music festival that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The headlining act will be Hendrix by Hendrix, featuring the guitar legend’s cousin Regi Hendrix, as well as Gerardo Velez, who played with Hendrix at the original event.

Other bands scheduled to perform include Kettle of Fish, who will be performing the music of The Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival; Twinkle & Rock Soul Radio performing the music of Janis Joplin; Rj Howson & Friends performing the music of Santana; Ship of Fools performing the music of the Grateful Dead; Trey Wanvig will perform the music of Cream and Johnny Winter.

The night before, the Funkier Side of Woodstock Kickoff Party will be held, featuring local funk favorites Jah Movement. All proceeds from the events will benefit the Mayors Feed the Hungry Program. Tickets start at $10 in advance (children under 12 are free) with VIP packages available. There will be plenty of free parking with food, beer and specialty cocktails available.

“We’re incredibly excited about bringing the event to the Polo Club, especially with the Woodstock theme,” said GHTB’s executive director Peter Anderson. “The grounds are visually similar and with all of the wide open space there’ll be no shortage of parking.”

Anderson said that despite the popularity of tributes to the iconic festival, there won’t be another event of this magnitude that better represents the heart and soul of Woodstock.

“GHTB 23 will have more Woodstock DNA than any other area show,” said Anderson. “Not only do we have Regi, but Gerardo’s very first paid gig was with Jimi Hendrix and Band of Gypsies on his 21st birthday. This year’s event will also give music fans a chance to see the very best local musicians in a completely different sort of performance.”

Friday’s free kickoff party is scheduled for 5:30 -9:00p.m. Saturday’s gates open at 11:30 and the rain or shine event kicks off at noon with Fogt’s Music All-Stars and will continue through 9:30 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring canned good donations for the Mayors Feed the Hungry program, which helps feed our area’s most vulnerable residents over the holiday season. Learn more at