In Central Florida, there is a festival called Orange Blossom Jamboree. Filled with art, music, performance and love expression of all kinds, similar to many other festivals that have been making a great name for themselves around the country and internationally. However, this event is about much more than only that, it is about family. Most of all, it is about supporting the local families of the Florida scene.
Unlike most other festivals, OBJ in particular, centers on booking only Florida based bands, along with Florida based art, food vendors, workshops and all factors involved in making it happen as a whole. The emphasis in that regard is clearly an attempt in supporting the local scene and local culture as a whole. It seems to have definitely done so in its first seven years of production, and there is no reason it will be slowing down for the eighth.
This year’s lineup is packed with only the most influential and inspiring of esteemed musical performers and artists hailing from all over Florida, who have established themselves all around other areas as well. “Thomas Wynn and the Believers” has rocked hard for years with a powerful southern sound that will literally blow you away through blistering harmonica solos. “Come Back Alice” is a Florida favorite who is also nationally acclaimed with quite a unique method of gypsy rock featuring the fiddling fury of Dani Jaye that is captivating to say the least. “Holey Miss Moley” and “Ajeva” are two bands that always funk harder than even the funkiest of hard funkers, and HMM just returned from a long tour so they certainly will be a well-received homecoming. “Displace” and “Juanjamon Band” also contain or cannot contain rather some of the funkiest madness around with saxophone playing that is especially out of this world. “The Groove Orient” boasts one of the most heavy hitting original blues rock sounds filled with intricate and multi-faceted musicianship that seems pretty unrivaled in many aspects. A rising spectacle to behold is “Last Electric Rodeo” which appears to some to be as theatrically pleasing as it is a fun musical piece to listen to. “Corbitt-Clampitt Experience” features one of the most versatile harmonica players (Isaac Corbitt) to ever push air through a reed.
These and so many more impressive acts will be performing along with some new friends including “Joose” a jazz fusion project who has been taking FL by storm recently, and “Blackwater Grease” out of Jacksonville with ample shreds provided by Joe “King” former member of a group called “SPORE” that is currently on hiatus. Artists at large such as Dennis Stadelman and Critter will be crawling on their guitar necks over many of the wonderful acts for all to enjoy on top of the already packed stage presence. Also, do not miss the “Wookie Wednesday pre-party” which includes a performance by the namesake of the main organizer behind OBJ, Russ Bowers, who is one of the most genuine and appreciative promoters in the industry, along with a band who spreads love through raw folk-grass like no other by the name of “Free Range Strange”.
The family of Orange Blossom Jamboree is unlike any other family in the Florida live music scene, because it is a family bent on supporting the Florida scene first and foremost. Love and gratitude is all that can be associated with an event offering so much support for the culture many have come to share and appreciate, making this a festival you will certainly desire to be a part of.
Preview of Orange Blossom Jamboree by Mario Khoury
Photos by: Brian Hensley