Follow the Sun Festival brings music across state for three days
Published: Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 4:03 p.m.
Harry Crews' essay, “Why I Live Where I Live,” describes traveling across Florida in one day — from the east coast to the west coast — and enjoying what there was to enjoy along the way.
Follow the Sun Festival
What: Three-day traveling music festival featuring 43 musicians and bands
When: Friday in St. Augustine, Saturday in Gainesville, Sunday in Cedar Key
Where: Shanghai Nobby’s and Planet Sarbez in St. Augustine; Boca Fiesta Backyard, Loosey’s and The Atlantic in Gainesville; Sea Breeze and Black Dog in Cedar Key.
Tickets: $15 for Friday, $20 for Saturday, $30 for the weekend
Crews' prose gave Gainesville musician Mike Collins an idea — what if he got some bands and musicians together and trekked across the state, literally playing in different area as they went?
That idea is now the Follow the Sun Festival — a three-day traveling musical festival that will begin in St. Augustine on Friday, continue in Gainesville on Saturday and wind up in Cedar Key on Sunday.
Collins and Jon Reinertsen, his friend and bandmate in the Gainesville group Whiskey & Co., co-founded the festival and have lined up an impressive 43 acts that will participate at nightspots in each of the three cities over three days of the Memorial Day weekend.
“We know a lot of people in St. Augustine — I grew up there — and we know a lot of people there in other bands,” Collins says. “And we figured we could do a couple of shows there, and we definitely could do some shows here.”
Performers include bands and musicians based both in Gainesville and St. Augustine as well as in other areas.
“We wanted to base it not totally around singer/songwriter-style music but kind of have that as a base and also have loud music and bands, full bands, and not limit it to one genre,” Collins says.
Gainesville-based performers include Michael Claytor, The Ones to Blame, Nook & Cranny, Flat Land, Hard Luck Society, Devon Stuart and Ex-Boogeymen.
Collins and Reinertsen also lined up out-of-the area musicians Nashville singer/songwriter Robert Ellis, Oklahoma's John Moreland and a reunited Ninja Gun from Valdosta, Georgia.
“I really liked their style of songwriting, their style of music,” Collins says about Ellis and Moreland, whose music has been featured on the television show, “Sons of Anarchy.”
“And Ninja Gun are friends of ours from Valdosta,” he says. “They haven't been around for a while. They're a really good band, back in the last 10 years or so, and they decided to get back together and play this. So hopefully they'll make it sort of a regular thing again.”
The venues are Shanghai Nobby's and Planet Sarbez in St. Augustine; Boca Fiesta Backyard, Loosey's and The Atlantic in Gainesville; and Sea Breeze and Black Dog in Cedar Key.
“Some people are going to do all three days, some people are going to do two,” Collins says. “Robert Ellis is only playing here in Gainesville. John Moreland's doing all three. Ninja Gun's doing all three. And other people are doing just St. Augustine or just Gainesville.
“It's kind of all over the map. But there are definitely people who are going to make the whole trek across [the state] and do it.
Tickets, which are $15 for Friday, $20 for Saturday or $30 for three days, are available online at www.followthesunfest.com as is the complete schedule and more information.
Patrons also can also attend a single show and pay at the door just as they would for any other show. And that reasonable approach hints to what the whole thing's about: a group of musicians getting together for fun times and good tunes, without worrying too much about the bottom line.
“All the bands are excited,” Collins says. “Everybody's excited to do it, just to hang out with each other and play music with each other. It should be a lot of fun.”
Contact Entertainment Editor Bill Dean at 374-5039 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow on Twitter @SceneBillDean.