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Give hunger the blues

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Hunger_Blues_Pic

Duane Freeman of the Fogt's All Stars plays the tenor sax at the 17th annual Giving Hunger the Blues block party in Sarasota in 2012. Thousands enjoyed live music and local food to benefit the All Faiths Food Bank. Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner.

Giving Hunger the Blues has been one of Sarasota’s most popular block parties for the past decade, the rare annual event where the whole family can have fun while enjoying outstanding live music for about the price of a Big Mac.

But the beloved fundraising festival, which takes place Sunday from noon to 8 p.m., started small.

George Generoso held the first Giving Hunger the Blues in the back of his Five O’Clock Club in 1996.

The memorial to his mother raised about $1,000 for All Faiths Food Bank.

Since then, the fundraiser has raised more than $1 million for the food bank, which distributes about 88,000 meals weekly in Sarasota and DeSoto counties.

“I grew up as a poor person in the slums of New Haven, Conn.,” Generoso said. “But my mother was the type of person if someone was out of work, she’d be bringing over a casserole and that’s where this came from.”

AC/DC singer Brian Johnson, “American Idol” finalist Syesha Mercado and former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dan Toler are among the entertainers who have donated their time performing at the event in the past.

George Generoso Pic

Giving Hunger the Blues organizers Aundria Castleberry, George Generoso and Caroline Sansone pose for a picture during the 2011 event. Sarasota Herald-Tribune photo by Dan Wagner.

The 18th annual Giving Hunger the Blues will be another family and dog friendly bash featuring two stages on Hillview Street near Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

The headlining act, scheduled to perform from 6:40 to 8 p.m., is scarily spot-on AC/DC tribute band and Giving Hunger the Blue veterans Highway to Hell.

“They actually started at the Five-O, playing clubs like mine and I brought them in because I love Brian Johnson’s music and we built a relationship,” Generoso said of the guys from Highway to Hell. “They’re awesome as a closing band doing a great job with AC/DC’s music that’s so high energy and danceable.”

Lauren Mitchell Band, which performs from 3:25 to 4:10, recently released its debut album “Please Come Home.” Produced by Bud Snyder (Allman Brothers Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan), the disc finds Mitchell lending her smoke-and-honey vocals to songs like “House of the Rising Son,”  Junior Wells’ “Little by Little” and Bob Seger’s “Come to Papa,” revamped as “Come to Mama.”

“I brought her in because she’s the hottest thing out here,” Generoso said of Sarasota standout Mitchell. “Her voice has gotten better and better, she really pushes it out, her range is awesome and she has great energy on stage.”

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Tony Tyler’s blues-y jam band Come Back Alice, which plays every Wednesday at the Five O’Clock Club, is scheduled to perform from 2:20 to 3:05 Sunday.

Lauren Mitchell

Lauren Mitchell

“People love them,” Generoso said. “They just have a tremendous presence, even on a big stage.”

In addition to the main stage, there’s the youth stage exclusively showcasing bands with members under the age of 18.

“Younger kids love seeing kids up there on the youth stage,” Generoso said. “I think seeing people close to their age really inspires them."

Giving Hunger the Blues s expected to draw in excess of 5000 people with every $5 collected at the door buying food for 40 meals.

“It’s a fun way for people to give back to the community,” Generoso said.

Main stage

National Anthem to be sung by Meredith Garofalo at 12:00 noon

12:10 – 12:30   Sarasota Orchestra’s Brass Quintet
12:35 – 12:55   Sarasota Orchestra’s Wind Ensemble
1:15 –  2:00  Fogt’s All Stars
2:20 –  3:05 Come Back Alice
3:25 –  4.10 The Lauren Mitchell Band
4:30 –  5:15 The Boneshakers
5:35 –  6:20 The Florida Blues Brothers
6:40 –  8:00   H 2 H - The Ultimate AC/DC Tribute Band

Times subject to change without notice

On the Youth Stage

12:00-12:40     Prophets of Madness
12:45-12:55     Boom Goes The Dynamite
1:00 – 1:40      Olivia Little & The Alter Ego’s
1:45 – 1:55       Boom Goes The Dynamite
2:00 – 2:40       Shoebox Monsters
2:45 – 2:55       The Garbage Men
3:00 – 3:40       Jazz Juvenocracy
3:45 – 3:55       Boom Goes The Dynamite
4:00 – 4:40       The Drum Studio All Stars
4:45 – 4:55       The Garbage Men
5:00 – 5:40       Traphik 3:16
5:45 – 5:55       The Garbage Men
6:00 – 6:45       The Tracks
7:00 – 7:45       Solitude

Noon-8 p.m. Sunday (March 24) 1930 Hillview St., Sarasota; $5; (941) 366-5555 givinghungertheblues.com
Last modified: March 29, 2013
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