Award-winning bluegrass artists return to Venice, Florida
Three award-winning national bluegrass bands will return to headline the entertainment offering at the 2020 Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash.
Russell Moore is the most awarded male vocalist in the history of the International Bluegrass Music Association. He is the reigning Male Vocalist for 2019, after being selected for the sixth time as the top male singer in all of bluegrass. His band IIIrd Tyme Out was also nominated for vocal group of the year, an award the band won seven years in a row in the mid- to late 1990s.
The Grascals return again this year, led by Kristin Scott Benson, who picked up her fifth award in 2019 as the top banjo player in bluegrass music. The Grascals were twice named Entertainers of the Year in 2006 and 2007.
The Lonesome River Band is also eager to return to Venice to wrap up the Saturday’s stellar afternoon of entertainment, including the popular Appalachian Jam at the end of the show. The Virginia-based band’s “Angeline The Baker” received Instrumental Recording of the Year in 2012. In 1992, “Carrying the Tradition” was IBMA’s Album of the Year.
Lonesome River Band’s Jesse Smathers also was named IBMA Momentum Awards’ Vocalist of the Year in 2017.
LRB’s Sammy Shelor, who is a five-time winner of IBMA’s Banjo Player of the Year award, will again pair with the Grascals’ Benson for a fun segment showcasing their skills on the five-string banjo. The two pickers were also recipients of the prestigious Steve Martin Award for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo, Shelor in 2011 and Benson in 2018.
At a recent appearance in Brooksville, banjo player and band leader Shelor said he and the band were eager to return to support the festival and the cause that it champions.
“That’s one of our favorite festivals,” he said, adding that they enjoy sampling the world-class barbecue and chili that is served up at the festival.
Some background on all of the community causes that the Bash supports: The Suncoast Foundation has constructed more than $14 million worth of facilities in Sarasota County. These buildings are located on three separate campuses: Sarasota, Venice, and North Port. The facilities are leased for one dollar per year to nonprofit agencies. Currently, the facilities are occupied by Special Olympics, The Florida Center, Community Haven, Children’s First, Boys and Girls Club, Challenger Baseball, Sertoma Speech Clinic, and the Loveland Center. Each year, they serve more than 5,000 children and families with disabilities.