2023 Florida Classic report

The Grascals at the 2023 Florida Classic – photo © Bill Warren

The 2023 Florida Classic has concluded. Ernie and Debi Evans can feel really good about this show. Great entertainment, perfect weather, and a big crowd always makes promoters smile.

Every band that graced the Classic stage had praise for MC Sherry Boyd. Words like “best on the planet” were used!

Justin Mason and Blue Night did their second set of the weekend. How many people do you know that live in Christmas? Blue Night fiddler Lester Canada and EMS Artist Relations Director Clarence Canada live in Christmas, Florida. Blue Night is steeped in traditional bluegrass music. Mary Kate Brennan can belt out some of the best old time country music to round out the sound.

Swinging Bridge is another Florida band that plays both traditional country music and bluegrass. They are popular at many Florida festivals.

Don Rigsby and the Fly-By-Nights is one of the good bluegrass bands that we don’t see enough. Don is a singing machine. He always delivers full measure. He was joined by Elmer Burchett, Chris Davis, and Calib Smith.

Dennis Lee and Stephanie Ann completed their two day stint at the Classic with their combination of humor and music.

The Atlantic City Boys closed out the Friday show. They are a tribute band to the late ’50s and early ’60s music in the style of Frankie Valli.

Saturday opened with the annual car show. There were vintage cars and trucks on site.

Catching the EMS sound crew all in one place at one time is a daunting task. I finally caught up to them Saturday morning. They are Rob Karaitis, Steve Holdeman, Gabe Bauman, Josh Griffin, Larry Payton, and Clarence Canada. They kept things on track in the midst of a lot of major equipment changes. Good job guys.

Florida band Remedy Tree opened the stage show. Husband and wife team of Gabriel and Abigail Acevedo anchor the band. They play a lot of old time mountain music.

Swinging Bridge played their second set of the weekend. They can be seen in a lot of Florida venues.

The Grascals put on two top notch sets of music. The band is celebrating its 19th year. Danny Roberts, Terry Smith, and Jamie Johnson are founding members. Jamie Harper held down the fiddle spot with the departure of Adam Haynes. The Grascals Trio of Jamie Johnson, Terry Smith, and Kristin Scott Benson wowed the audience.

Adam is appearing for his first trip out with Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. Many words have been written about the “Queen of Bluegrass.” Please allow me to add “consummate professional.” She had a medical procedure earlier in the week that made playing her mandolin difficult. She soldiered on with a smile on her face.

Grand Ole Opry member Gene Watson closed out the festival with a show of his hits. He has been one of the best country singers since the mid-’60s. Rhonda joined him for a couple duets. Gene will celebrate his 80th birthday at the Opry in October of this year.

Evans Media Source will welcome fans to the Spring Bluegrass Fest, March 23-25, at the former Sertoma Youth Ranch.

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