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‘Putting the party out to pasture’: Bradfordville Blues Club to hold outdoor shows starting in March

Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 10:56 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Two years after a tree fell through its roof and the community raised funds for the repairs, a historical hotspot is once again in trouble and leaning on the community for help.

Owner Gary Anton said the legendary Bradfordville Blues Club is on “life-support.” The backwoods bar has long been known for its magical atmosphere and ‘off the beaten track’ vibe. Owners told WCTV’s Katie Kaplan that they plan to take its beloved stage outside.

The venue “has a hack of a history” and has played host to some of the biggest names in jazz and blues, said Anton. The property has belonged to the same family since the 1800s and a historical marker out front pays tribute to its place along the ‘Mississippi Blues Trail.’ However, Anton said the juke joint is now surviving off donations from “irregulars” (an ode to its eclectic group of regulars), and the leniency of the landlord.

“It’s been really tough. I imagine we have faced the same things that all other small businesses have. We have had no income whatsoever since March 14 (2020), that was our last show,” said Anton. “As soon as the pandemic hit, people started contributing (to) the lights, the rent, the insurance, and all the overheard that keeps coming even though we don’t have revenue.”

Now, Anton said he is planning on putting the party out to pasture.

“I’ve always called this place the ‘church in the woods,’ so when we got the opportunity to do something for this place specifically, it meant everything to me,” said Kristie Larson who has been coming to the venue for years.

Larson is a volunteer with the local non-profit foundation ‘Spirit of a Child,’ which helps local families after trauma. The Foundation is helping the club to kick off its first in-person outdoor show.

“The community has helped the Bradfordville Blues Club and in a way, they’re coming back and helping us,” said Gina Blanton who also volunteers with the foundation.

The ‘Bikin’ with Spirit’ Poker Run benefitting the Spirit of a Child Foundation will take place on Saturday, Mar. 6, and will end at the Bradfordville Blues Club. Live music will start at 2 p.m. and is expected to last into the night:

-Steven Ritter Band – 2:00p – 4:00p

-Michael Miller Band – 4:30p – 7:30p

-TBD: 7:30p until late

The event will be entirely outdoors and socially distanced, said Anton. It is the first of several in the works for this Spring. The details on future performances will be announced on the venue’s website in the coming weeks.

“It’s just got a very magical feel to it. When everybody gets together, the vibe is right, the music’s right. The bonfire,” said Anton. “You can’t replace this, you can’t recreate it.”

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