Opening day of the 2016 Florida Music Festival and Conference (FMF) made great strides in showcasing some of the talent available in the Orlando area. Add to that the exciting music festival atmosphere; it was the place to be that night.
The music festival organizers did something a little different this year with the conferences, instead of having them crammed into one afternoon, they spread them out over the duration of each of the three days, in the gorgeous Cheyenne Saloon. On opening day, the conference featured the festival’s keynote speaker Anton Ben-Horin talking about several aspects of the business of music. He had some great tips to offer up to the musicians in attendance.
The opening day party was held at Sideshow and featured short musical sets by several of the festival’s featured artists. Highlights of those performances included a sentimental trek with singer/songwriter Dru Cutler, some sweet harmonies from the family members of The Band J4, an outstanding acoustic performance by KASSON and a captivating, rare stripped down acoustic performance by Michelle Beebs and Levon White of Beebs and Her Money Makers.
More of the highlights from day one:
The Dane Myers band showcased their multi-faceted sound with their set. The Orlando band’s music went from funk to pop with a few stops in between in a set that included a cover of Santana’s “Evil Ways”.
Orlando Singer/songwriter Casey Conroy showcased her versatility during her full band set, easily sliding between a mellow cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” to an edgy original song “Isn’t about you”.
Brevard County’s Coastal Breed packed them in at Wall Street Plaza’s main stage with their reggae tunes. The barefoot performance of the band’s lead singer and bass player enhanced the “toes in the sand” beachy feel of their music.
Orlando pop/rock band Hoyle kicked off their set with songs from their latest release, Simple Pleasures. The band’s super catchy music proved to be a good draw for the mixed crowd on Wall Street Plaza.
At Cheyenne Saloon, Orlando band Blaine the Mono put on a high-energy set. The combination of the band’s blues and metal flavored alternative rock and lead singer Randi Stickles’ vocal range is one not to miss.
Orlando rock band The Groove Orient had fans packed in at Wall Street Plaza. The band’s live shows are always a great time for the audience and no two shows are ever the same thanks to the band’s powerhouse jams.
Headlining opening night on the mainstage was Orlando’s Jonnie Morgan Band. The Indie pop/rock band played a mix of old and new songs in their high-energy set. The band is one of the top-rated bands in the Orlando area and with each performance it is clear why, with their memorable songs and spirited performance, the audience never gets enough.
The music continued with Orlando based pop/rock band Haze Over Hollywood at Cheyenne Saloon. The relatively new trio was impressive with their noteworthy original music and full-bodied rock jams. They are definitely one to watch.
Over at The Social was another Orlando based trio Reverist. The three piece band completely embraces the spirit of indie with their music, sparking flights of whimsy and spirited dancing throughout their set.
The last band on the music festival’s schedule for opening day was Orlando soul band The Sh-Booms. The Sh-Booms rhythmic music is so powerful that it is not only heard, but felt right down to a listener’s core.
The band’s lead vocalist Mizz Bren is dubbed Supreme Queen and onstage she lives up to that title in so many ways. Her killer pipes and dynamic stage presence are only part of it. She commands the stage from the minute she walks out, ordering fans to show their respect to the band by filling up the front stage area (which they quickly did) and directing the audience participation segment of the show. It was an absolute pleasure listening to her belt out tune after tune.
Orlando singer/songwriter Mike Dunn and The Woolly Bushmen’s Simon Palombi joined the band for their last song, a cover of The Zombies’ “Time of the Season”. Then it was time for the assembled crowd to make their demands known by repeatedly chanting “one more song” to which the band obliged.
It was a great way to end day one of the Florida Music Festival.