Funk Fest Punta Gorda 11: A Primer for the Florida Music Scene’s Best Kept Little Secret

There are lots of reasons to get yourself to next week’s Funk Fest Punta Gorda 11, and just about all of them begin and end with one thing – FUNK! Heaps of it. Boatloads of it. Towering, rolling waves of it. So much of it, in fact, that you’ll be channeling your best James Brown screaming, “It’s too Fun-kay, Fun-kay in here! Gimme some Air!”

Funk Fest Punta Gorda

Seriously though, this year’s Funk Fest, to be held on February 14 and 15 in downtown Punta Gorda, Florida, has completely outdone itself with a lineup that brings the funk like no other before it. Ten bands are set to play over the two-day festival delivering nonstop music across two stages. Not one but two Grammy nominees will be performing along with a mind-boggling list of funk, R&B and soul artists.

Lettuce – Shot by Mandi Nulph

Headliners, Grammy nominees, and funk/fusion locomotive Lettuce will return for their second appearance at Funk Fest, playing sets on Friday and Saturday night.

Robert Randolph and The Family Band Rooster Walk 10 Martinsville VA May 24-27 2018

Grammy award-winner and six-time nominee Robert Randolph will be there as well with The Family Band, along with those men of mystery and purveyors of nasty grooves, Here Come the Mummies, who will take a turn at headlining to close out the fest on Saturday night.

Here Come The Mummies. Photo Credit: Matthew Chase

As if these alone were not enough reason to attend, they’ll be joined by a slew of exceptional artists including The Nth Power, The Main Squeeze, Joe Marcinek Band, Voodoo Visionary, Funk You, Dr. Bacon and The HeadTones.

Funk Fest 2020

The full lineup for Funk Fest 11! 🔥 This will be the BEST one yet! Catch amazing bands like Lettuce , Here Come the Mummies, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and more!Get tickets 🎫 at http://www.funkfestpuntagorda.com /tickets.html

Posted by Funk Fest Punta Gorda on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Sure. There are a couple of other decent reasons to come to Southwest Florida for Funk Fest including Punta Gorda itself, a sleepy little town that is among the festival world’s best-kept secrets. Located less than two hours south of Tampa on Charlotte Harbor on the Peace River, Punta Gorda is a stone’s throw from many of the regions prettiest beaches. Once jokingly called “God’s Waiting Room,” where Midwestern retirees settled and the streets rolled up by 9 p.m., this historic village has undergone a renaissance in the last decade with younger people and urbanites moving in looking for inexpensive, waterfront real-estate, business opportunities, and safe places to raise their families. Chic restaurants, shops, entertainment establishments, and a rejuvenated downtown soon followed.

Funk Fest Punta Gorda. Photo Credit: Matthew Chase

Father and son promoters Matthew and Nick Nemec, founders of Edgewater Events, have been at the forefront of bringing music and entertainment to the area for over a decade. Now in its 11th year, Funk Fest Punta Gorda is the crown jewel in a collection of festivals and concerts produced by the Nemecs, including Big Orange Music Festival and Peace River Revival. Big-name artists such as Tower of Power, JJ Grey and Mofro, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, The Allman Betts Band, and Blackberry Smoke have appeared in this small slice of Southwest Florida.

The Gumbys at Funk Fest Punta Gorda 10. Photo Credit: Matthew Chase

And with maximum capacity capped at 5,000 attendees, Funk Fest is the largest of Edgewater Events’ festivals but still manages to deliver a much more intimate, familial and relaxed concert experience than some of the better-known behemoths on the festival circuit lack. Oh, and did we mention that tickets are a flat-out bargain?  Limited VIP weekend passes are just $160, with General Admission weekend passes priced at $70. Single-day passes start at a mere $35, and kids under 12 are free but must be accompanied by an adult. That brings us back to the biggest reasons to come: the nine bands that will blow your minds. He’s a short rundown of whom and what to expect.

 

Jesus Coomes – Lettuce shot by Zach Sanders

LETTUCE

With their sixth studio album Elevate nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, Lettuce is getting the national recognition they deserve after more than 20 years on the road and in the studio. Formed in 1992 by four core members who were alumni of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Lettuce is among the premier innovators of progressive, funk fusion and psychedelic hip hop of our time.

Lettuce with Shaun Martin on keys. Wow!!!

Posted by Funk Fest Punta Gorda on Saturday, February 23, 2019

Made up of Adam Deitch (drums/percussion),  Adam “Schmeeans” Smirnoff (guitar). Erick “Jesus” Coomes (bass), Ryan Soidis (alto, baritone and tenor sax, Korg X-911), Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet/horns) and Nigel Hall (vocals, Hammond B-3, Rhodes, clarinet, keyboard), the band’s incendiary shows are legendary, setting flame to funk and building a rabid fanbase along the way. Last year’s set at FunkFest was a rager, leaving fans agog and spent. Southwest Florida needs to count itself exceptionally lucky this year to have them back for two sets with Lettuce closing out Friday and playing again on Saturday night.

 

Here Come The Mummies. Photo Credit: Matthew Chase

HERE COME THE MUMMIES

Back for their 11th appearance at Funk Fest, Nashville-based Here Come The Mummies have been with the festival since its inception and have built a fervent, loyal fanbase in Southwest Florida. In that time, they’ve managed to keep their true identities a secret. Little else is known about them except that they are incredibly gifted musicians who can bring on some hellacious, dirty beats like nobody’s business.

💀Keep an open mind, cause this is not for the weak. We got nothin’ but time for the pleasures that you seek. 💀KING OF THE UNDERWORLD (Music Video) : http://HCTM.band/KOTUvid

Posted by Here Come the Mummies on Monday, October 29, 2018

Rumor has it that they are the reincarnation of Grammy award-winning studio musicians, or forever cursed for deflowering a pharaoh’s daughter centuries ago. Whatever the case may be, the ten-piece outfit made of Mummy Cass(anova), Eddie Mummy, K.W. TuT, Spaz, The Flu, Ra, B.B.Queen, The Pole, Midnight, Mummy (Dr.) Yo, and H.P.O.D., they are crafty, talented bastards winning over skeptics everywhere with their interactive live shows and songcraft. They’ll be playing one mayhem-inducing set closing out Saturday’s festivities.

 

Robert Randolph and The Family Band Rooster Walk 10 Martinsville VA May 24-27 2018

ROBERT RANDOLPH AND THE FAMILY BAND

Led by the Grammy award-winning pedal steel guitarist, Robert Randolph and the Family Band have been rocking venues across the world and racking up accolades for their divine combination of blues/funk/soul/R&B and gospel. If inspirational were a genre of music, this band would be among its royalty. Born in church nearly 20 years ago, Robert Randolph and The Family Band are a real family affair, including Randolph’s cousins Danyell Morgan (bass), Marcus Randolph (drums), and sister Lenesha Randolph anchoring the group. Keyboardist and guitarist Brett Hass rounds out the ensemble. The band’s most recent release, Brighter Days, was honored with a 2020 Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

Hailing from New Jersey, Robert Randolph is without a doubt one of the world’s best pedal steel guitarists, who has shared stages and studios with Eric Clapton, Dave Mathews Band, The Roots, Jack White and more. This will be Randolph’s second appearance in Punta Gorda, having floored the audience at 2018’s Big Orange Music Festival along with Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. It’s not often you’ll get to experience this kind of power up close when Robert Randolph and The Family Band take the stage for one set on Saturday night.

 

Nikki Glaspie and Nick Cassarino of The Nth Power. Photo Credit David Lee

THE NTH POWER

Anchored by founder and goddess of the funky beats drummer Nikki Glaspie, The Nth Power is descending upon Punta Gorda to spread the gospel of positivity and love. Brilliant vocalist and guitarist Nick Cassarino and bassist Nate Edgar complete the trio, whose vehicle of choice combines soul, R&B, rock, hip hop, funk and reggae to bring their message to adoring fans across the cosmos. Formed in 2012 after a late-night jam during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the band calls New Orleans their spiritual home, which heavily influences their music. Tireless road warriors, The Nth Power are festival favorites, having played at big events like Electric Forest, Suwannee Hulaween, Jam Cruise, Jazz Fest, and more.

Glaspie appeared at last year’s Funk Fest playing percussion for the Joe Marcinek Band and sharing the stage with Lettuce for jaw-dropping performances that knocked the wind out of a mesmerized crowd. Expect nothing less when Glaspie and The Nth Power takes the stage for two sets, one on Friday night and an afternoon set on Saturday.

 

Joe Marcinek. Photo Credit: Matthew Chase

JOE MARCINEK BAND

Back for their third go-round at Funk Fest, the Joe Marcinek Band is a supergroup made up of a rotating cast of stellar musicians whose performances guarantee excellence and surprises with no two being alike. Led by incendiary guitarist Joe Marcinek, Funk Fest’s incarnation will include The Nth Power’s Nikki Glaspie on drums, Jamar Woods from Asheville’s power funk quartet The Fritz on keyboards, and Dumpstaphunk’s Tony Hall on bass. Marcinek’s no-holds-barred performance last year, which included a tribute to The Allman Brothers, teases even more extraordinary things to come for 2020’s Funk Fest.

The band’s super jams draw from New Orleans funk, jazz fusion, Chicago blues, psychedelia, and The Grateful Dead. Past lineups read like an encyclopedia of award-winning musicians and include artists like Melvin Seals, George Porter, Jr., Ivan Neville, Jennifer Hartswick, Shaun Martin, Natalie Cressman, and Freekbass. This year’s lineup is solidly immersed in funk and is guaranteed to drive the most sedentary of butts into a booty-shaking frenzy. Joe Marcinek Band will play two sets at Funk Fest, one on Friday night and one on Saturday.

 

The Main Squeeze at the Zonk Family Conference

THE MAIN SQUEEZE

The Main Squeeze have been making waves across the music scene since forming in Indiana in 2010. Now based in the entertainment mecca of Los Angeles, the quintet rolls rock, soul, and funk into an irresistible mashup that simply electrifies. Made up of Ben “Smiley” Silverstein on keys, Max Newman on guitar, Rob Walker on bass Reuben Gingrich on drums and the charismatic and kinetic frontman Corey Frye on Vocals, the band’s shows are sweaty ragers where even the most timid of souls all of a sudden discover they can dance like a boss.

The group’s interactive performances at countless music clubs and major festivals like KABOO, High Sierra and Summer Camp have been steadily gaining a burgeoning and loyal fanbase. No stranger to Florida, The Main Squeeze have cultivated a dedicated following here with appearances at music venues all over the state including Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa and 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville. The band will be performing one stupendous set on Saturday night.

 

Voodoo Visionary – Mandi Nulph

VOODOO VISIONARY

Back for their fourth time at Funk Fest, Atlanta-based Voodoo Visionary is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. They’ve got the grooves to match your moves and then some. Consisting of Trent Gilson (bass), Scott MacDonald (vocals), Jose Rivera (percussion) Mac Schmitz (drums), Marcus White (keys), and Mike Wilson (guitar), the band calls their brand of improvisational funk/dance music psychofunk. We call it unbridled fun.

Voodoo Visionary was unleashed on the world in 2013 and has been carrying the torch lit by trailblazers Parliament Funkadelic, The Meters, The Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers Band, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, all of whom they count as influences. You never know what sounds Voodoo Visionary will pull out of their hat, but rest assured that their genre-bending grooves will put the “oogie in yo boogie.” Voodoo Visionary will be playing an evening set on Friday and an afternoon set on Saturday.

 

Funk You — Mandi Nulph

FUNK YOU

One of Augusta’s finest and funkiest exports, Funk You will be making their second appearance at Funk Fest after a wild and crowd-pleasing performance at last year’s festival. The Georgia-based progressive funk/rock band has been covering a lot of ground since forming in 2011.

Made up Gavin Hamilton on lead vocals, Evan Miller on guitar, Will Clark on drums, Palmer Owens on percussion, Will Foster on keys and Mark Dykes on bass, the group can take a party from zero to overdrive at the drop of a hat. They’ll be appearing for one funk-fortified set on Friday night.

 

Dr. Bacon. Photo credit: Mandi Nulph

DR. BACON

There’s no telling which way is up with Dr. Bacon. There’s a head-spinning amount of sensory stimulation going on with this Asheville-based septet, who are as much a delight for the eyes as they are for the ears. At any given moment, their high-energy shows and infectiously danceable blend of rock, funk, soul, hip hop, folk, jazz, blues and who knows what else can veer off into all manner of directions with instrumentation that include guitars, violins, mandolins, drums, sax, brass, harmonicas and kazoos.

Jesse Talbott (Guitar, Vocals), Myles Dunder (Guitars, Vocals, Saxophone) Michael Crawford | (harmonica, violin). John Kirby | (Electric Guitar), Robert Palmer (bass), Jackson Weldon (Pedal Steel guitar, mandolin, guitar) and Ben New (drums) comprise the group which was founded in 2017. They’ll be warming things up on Saturday afternoon with one crazy set.

 

The HeadTones

THE HEADTONES

St. Petersburg’s The HeadTones will be opening both days with a bang. Comprised of Josh Magwood (Guitar and vocals), Shawn Carson (Bass and Guitar), Josh McFarland (drums), Brenton Mohn (turntables/samples), Carmine Pocchia (Trumpet, vocals, keys and bass), and Jamal Hansan (sax and keys), the group has been creating some serious buzz with its experimental grooves that are driven by hip hop and funk.

Since forming in 2018, they’ve already caught the attention of some of Florida’s premier festivals including Brainquility Music Fest, Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival, and Suwannee Rising, where they’ve landed spots. These are openers you don’t want to skip.

 

We rest our case. Funk Fest Punta Gorda 11 will top anything before it and with just ten days to go, VIP passes are nearly sold out, but General Admission is still available. Both can be had by clicking here. For more information, click on the links below.

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