LAKELAND — Over the past eight years, artist by artist, note by note, Lake Wales’ Orange Blossom Revue has attracted some of the more renowned and noted roots musical acts.
That tradition continues for the 2023 edition with music featuring a mix of American roots, folk, Americana, soul, rock and other homegrown musical stylings.
Since its founding along the west shore of Lake Wailes in 2014 (the event wasn’t held in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic), the Revue has blossomed into one of the southeastern United States’ more renowned roots music festivals.
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From 3 to 10 p.m. Friday and from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, the OBR will bring together a slate of international touring musicians, a varied blend of dishes from up to 13 food truck vendors and a variety of craft beers from across the U.S. Orange Blossom Brewing of Orlando will be on-site serving their beer.
Musically speaking, the Revue will be hosted by New York City-born American roots act The Wood Brothers – Chris and Oliver Wood – who released their ninth studio album, “Heart is the Hero” in April. Their sixth full-length album, “One Drop of Truth,” was nominated for the “Best Americana Album” award at the 61st Grammy Awards in 2018.
Also headlining will be Jacksonville’s JJ Grey & Mofro, who will be releasing their latest album “Olustee” in February.
From Jacksonville, where he lives, John Higginbotham, “JJ Grey,” said it will be the band’s first time playing at the Revue and he and his 11-piece Mofro act will be “going full nuclear assault” for their debut. In addition to his band, he’s bringing two female singers and a horn ensemble.
Higginbotham says his band’s 8 p.m. Saturday slot will include a variety of tunes from their nine album releases dating to 2001. He said he looked forward to playing Lake Wales and appreciated the OBR’s commitment to showcasing American-born-and-bred music styles.
“The most important part of the show is just to share an honest moment with everybody. You just let go and you wake up and the show’s over and you’re like, ‘Man, that was killer; let’s do that again,'” he said. “It’s not just putting bands together because they’re hot right now. I mean, a concert like this gives folks a deeper connection to the music and musicians.”
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The 2023 OBR music lineup Friday features:
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. – Nashville-based singer-songwriter Harper O’Neill.
6:15 to 7:15 p.m. – Grammy-winner vocalist, songwriter, banjo player and guitarist Molly Tuttle & The Golden Highway Band.
Saturdays music lineup features:
1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – Orlando’s Cat Ridgeway & The Tourists, a four- to six-piece act, focuses their sound on rock and soul.
3 to 4 p.m. – Kaitlin Butts will bring a dose of country-pop to the OBR stage.
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. – Austin-based Mike & The Moonpies and its five-piece band will feature neotraditional country and Americana tunes.
6:15 to 7:15 p.m. – Americus, Georgia native and singer-songwriter Brent Cobb will play what’s been called “blue-collar country” with a touch of bluegrass.
8 to 9:30 p.m. – JJ Grey & Mofro.
In addition to the music, this year’s OBR will have a few new additions, including on-site merchandise vendors, said Reid Hardman, who co-founded the festival with Rusty Ingley. He said there will be six of them and they’ll be selling clothing and jewelry among other items. OBR-related merchandise will also be for sale.
For 2023, Hardman said he expects more than 3,000 people to attend the event over two days. He said he’s excited to see the growth of the festival he helped start nearly a decade ago.
Hardman said folks from 37 states and countries attend, including Canada, Mexico and France. He said this year will be one of the biggest campgrounds available, with 45 RV and 70 camp spaces available.
“This will be the biggest crowd we’ve had, double what we had last year,” said Hardman, a Lake Wales native. “After many years, we’re reaching our goal of making the Orange Blossom Revue a major regional attraction for Americana music.”
Sales from food and drinks and vendor rental spaces for the 2023 Orange Blossom Revue will go to the Blossom Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 2021 by festival founders Ingley and Hardman to help promote arts and culture in Lake Wales.
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If you go
WHAT: Orange Blossom Revue
WHEN: 3 to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Lake Wailes Park, 33 N. Lake Shore Blvd., intersection of Park Avenue.
COST: Weekend pass, $110; Friday general admission, $65; Saturday, $75; VIP passes are sold out.
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Lake Wales' Orange Blossom Revue brings in big musical acts this week