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C/Z Festival News for May 2013

Hello again!

The FloridaCajunZydeco.com Website, your source for Florida Cajun and zydeco dance events, features the top Cajun-Zydeco festivals U.S. in its "Festival-O-Rama" tab on the Dance Calendar page. Festival season has begun, so make your plans to attend the festivals of your choice. Most of my readers love good music and dance, so I will be adding a few blues and country events for good measure.

We will be in San Diego over Mother's Day weekend for both Gator By The Bay Zydeco, Blues and Crawfish Festival and SwingDiego. Read more about Gator By The Bay and other festivals under "Festival-O-Rama" heading below.

Region 4 --- Workshops + Dance with Ronnie

Ronnie DeBenedetta with the lovely Laureen Baldovi-Mason

Ronnie DeBenedetta will teach workshops at Whirl & Twirl in Orlando

Ronnie DeBenedetta has won the most world country dance championships in UCWDC history, and has two dance events of his own: City of Angels Swing event and LAPD Country and Swing Dance Festival, both tremendously successful. Ronnie is teaching three workshops during the day at Whirl & Twirl dance studio in Orlando, and then teaching a "free" dance lesson at the dance in the evening at the same location.

For Floridians, this is an opportunity to learn technique from arguably the best male country dancer ever who is also a world class competitor on the west coast swing circuit as well. If nothing else, you will be entertained by his quick wit and humorous antics. Knowledge of west coast swing recommended as he will cover a lot of material with some advanced stylings thrown in for good measure.

2:30-3:30 p.m. --- "West Coast Swing: Connect & Redirect"
3:45-4:45 p.m. --- "Night Club Two-Step: How to Make it Feel Good and Look Even Better"
5-6 p.m. --- "West Coast Swing: Smoke & Mirrors, What's Really Happening!"
$15 per class per person or $40 for all three.
$10 video pass;
6-7:30 p.m. dinner break.
7:30-8:30 p.m. free lesson
8-11:30 p.m. Swingin' Country Dance
Location: Whirl & Twirl, 6949 Venture Circle, Orlando, FL 32807.

Carpools from St. Petersburg and Tampa are being organized. If you're in the Tampa Bay area, this is a great opportunity get to know other dancers on the drive to Orlando. Email Jim Hance if interested in carpooling.

Donna The Buffalo May 4 & 5

Donna The Buffalo in St. Petersburg on Saturday, May 4 and in Jacksonville Beach on Sunday, May 5

Donna the Buffalo's feel-good, groove-oriented, danceable and often socially conscious music all began over twenty years ago with roots in old time fiddle music that evolved into a soulful electric Americana mix infused with elements of cajun/zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country. Donna the Buffalo is known for touring the country remaining fiercely independent as one of the industry’s most diverse roots-music bands.

Saturday, May 4 at 7 p.m. Donna the Buffalo is at Jannus Landing, corner of 1st Avenue North and 2nd Street North, downtown St. Petersburg  May 4 7 pm Tickets 727-821-2120, or info@jannuslive.com.

Sunday, May 5 at 8 p.m.  Donna the Buffalo is at Firebird Cafe, 200 1st St N , Jacksonville Bch, FL 32250. Info: (904) 246-2473.

Region 3 --- Gulfport Swamp Opera May 11

Gulfport Swamp Opera at The Cuban Club

Gulfport Swamp Opera wil be at WMNF's Tropical Heat Wave

7:30 p.m. --- Cajun band Gulfport Swamp Opera is playing for WMNF's Tropical Heatwave, Saturday, May 11, 2013, a 60-minute set for dancers at 7:30 pm in The Cuban Club Ballroom (so don't be late!)  Questions?  Contact Larry or Maureen at le_mk@yahoo.com or 727-290-6445. The Cuban Club is located at 2010 Avenida Republica De Cuba (aka North 14th Street),  Ybor City, FL 33605. (813) 248-2954.

Region 1 --- Zydeco Zoo May 11

Zydeco Zoo in Tallahassee

JB's Zydeco Zoo in Tallahassee

May 11, 9 p.m., JB's Zydeco Zoo plays at Johnny Ringo's,  1660-15 North Monroe Street, in the Publix Lake Ella Plaza, Tallahassee, FL 32303.



Introducing "FESTIVAL-O-RAMA"

A new addition to the FloridaCajunZydeco.com website is the Festivals tab on the Dance Calendar page. Here you will find major Cajun-Zydeco music festivals across the nation, with a few others thrown in for good measure. Following are a few of the festivals you will find on that page.


Outside Florida --- April 26 to May 5

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
(New Orleans, Louisiana)

Artists include Tab Benoit, Anders Osborne, Sonny Landreth, Irvin Mayfield, Rockin Dopsie Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters, Bonerama, Beausoleil, Terrence Simien & his Zydeco Experience, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews Band, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, The Black Keys, Darryl Hall & John Oates, Willie Nelson & Family, Jimmy Cliff, George Benson, Earth Wind & Fire, Joshua Redman,  The Mavericks, Allen Toussaint, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Nevilles, to name just a few! 

Info on Website at http://www.nojazzfest.com/.

Region 3 --- Tropical Heat Wave May 10 & 11

Tropical Heat Wave

WMNF's Tropical Heat Wave (Tampa, FL)

Since 1982, Tropical Heatwave has been a rite of spring for fans of eclectic music. Once just a Cuban Club event, Tropical Heatwave now spreads all over Ybor City, presenting an incredible lineup of diverse entertainment with more than 60 bands on multiple stages. Bands will include Uproot Hootenany, Paul Thorn, Keith Secola and Band of Wild Indians, Selwyn Birthwood Band, Jess Klein, Applebutter Express, Nikki Hill, Bungled and Botched, Rocket 88, and Gulfport Swamp Opera. Details at http://www.wmnf.org/heatwave

Outside Florida --- Gator By The Bay May 10-12

Gator By The Bay

Gator By The Bay Zydeco, Blues & Crawfish Festival
(San Diego, CA)

Gator by the Bay this year is featuring about 60 bands, and apparently more bands are still being added. Festival features five stages, two of which have huge tents and polished wood dance floors on the order of 2,000 sq. ft. each. In other words, whether you like to country two-step, zydeco, waltz, Cajun two-step, swing or cha, there will be room for you on the dance floor at both of the main stages with great danceable music by Cajun, zydeco, blues, jazz, soul, rockabilly and country bands.

Bands will include Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie, Lil Wayne & Same Ol' Two Step, Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Lafayette Rhythm Devils, and Mama Tokus from the UK backed by veteran band members of Bayou Brothers.

The festival also features a dance instruction pavilion featuring a number of nationally prominent instructors. The festival website doesn't feature a list of instructors for the dance pavilion at this time, but Erin Brandt posted on Facebook that she will be teaching a class titled "For Men: Make Your Woman Melt." (Erin is featured on the Dance Instructors page at www.floridacajunzydeco.com.) AJ Gibbs, Greg Benusa, and Teddy and Brenda are featured on the daily schedules teaching at main stages at band breaks.

Peter Oliver and the crew always deliver a wonderful dance experience for festival goers (not just Gator), and this year will be no exception. Guranteed! Festival Website: http://www.sandiegofestival.com.

Region 5 --- Porchdogs May 24 and 25


Central Florida's own Porchdogs at Johnny Longboat's

Two performances: May 24 at 6 p.m. and May 25 at 11 p.m. at Johnny Longboat's Restaurant, 2401 N. Ocean Drive, Singer Island, Riviera Beach, FL 33404.

Region 4 --- Orange Blossom Festival June 7-9

Orange Blossom Dance Festival

Orange Blossom Country Dance Festival (Orlando, FL)

The image above of Gary McIntyre and Susan Kirklin is from a ballroom competition, not this event.

This is a country dance event with all workshops taught by Gary McIntyre and Susan Kirklin, two highly accomplished champion dancers. They are to their credit UCWDC Classic Masters World Champions,  World Professional Smooth Finalists, Classic and Showcase Swing Champions, and U.S. Open Swing Cabaret Champions. There will be country, swing, hustle, and cabaret division competitions as well as dedicated ballrooms for just social dancing throughout the event. Event will be held at Orlando Airport Marriott. Reserve your room at the hotel by May 9th for promotional rate of 50% off Sunday night stay. Website: http://www.orangeblossomdance.com/pages/home.

And there's more to come!


Bookmark FloridaCajunZydeco.com for listings of Cajun and Zydeco dance events throughout the state of Florida.

I will see you out dancing this summer at some of our wonderful dance events.

Regards, Jim Hance