Popular Guitarist Ben Hammond Selected as First Performer for the Sarasota Bay Water Festival
Ben Hammond of Sarasota and Maine will perform at the inaugural Sarasota Bay Water Festival set for Saturday, November 17 at Ken Thompson Park near Mote Marine Laboratory. Ben will also serve as the master of ceremonies for the free regional event celebrating the importance of Sarasota Bay to our environment and economy.
The popular guitarist was schooled in jazz, raised on rock, and continues to be inspired by music the world over. He was voted Best of the Suncoast in a Creative Loafing reader poll in 2010. A music technology graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Ben has shared his unique brand of live-looped Acoustic Soul-Pop with audiences at hundreds of venues and festivals including the Montreal Jazz Festival.
The theme of the inaugural water festival is Enjoy the Bay and the event is organized around three areas: Bay Recreation, Bay Science & Education, and Bay Creative Arts. Highlights include a Creative Arts Tent showcasing some of the area’s top wildlife photographers, the I Love Sarasota Bay Photography Contest with three age divisions, and displays promoting boating, fishing, paddle board sports, scuba diving, birding, and other fun activities. Details about the photo contest will be posted on the event website next week.
Florida’s first “iceberg” will be unveiled at the water festival thanks to the creativity of Rick Herzog, a Sculpting Professor at New College of Florida. The free event will also showcase local food vendors and a 4pm show by the award-winning Sarasota Ski-A-Rees Water Ski Show Team. Guests can also visit the popular Mote Aquarium which is open from 10am to 5pm. Admission requires obtaining a special stamp at the event.
The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the host sponsor and Triple 3 Marketing (T3M) is the event producer. SBEP is one of the 28 National Estuary Programs in the U.S. and a lead organization with its major partners supporting the ongoing restoration of Sarasota Bay. T3M is the same leadership team that produced the E-Fest Green Living Music & Arts Festival in 2007 and 2008. E-Fest is the largest "green" event ever held in the region.
Event sponsors in random order include: City of Sarasota, Solar Direct, Manatee County, Whole Foods Market, Sarasota County, Town of Longboat Key, HDR, City of Bradenton, Janicki Environmental, Inc., Southwest Florida Water Management District, Mote Marine Laboratory, Caldwell Trust Company, Visit Sarasota County, New College of Florida, Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Scheda Ecological Associates, Inc., Around the Bend Nature Tours, Save Our Seabirds, Inc., Reef Innovations, Inc., Sarasota Audubon, Nature’s Academy, Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Stantec, Science and Environmental Council of Sarasota County, and the UF/IFAS Extension in both counties.
Event organizers are seeking additional sponsors. Some of the sponsor contributions will support SBEP education and volunteer programs benefiting Sarasota Bay. An exhibitor application form will be posted on the event website next week. Learn more at sarasotabaywaterfestival.com.