Entering its 17th year, the RiverHawk Music Festival offers a slice of Americana.

The RiverHawk Music Festival will be held for four days in Dade City starting on Thursday.

DADE CITY – Along wide open fields, a part of Central Florida not spoiled by over-development, Mitch Lind sees something truly wonderful: a slice of Americana.
He also envisions something else: a guaranteed opportunity to boogie.
“This Americana movement is becoming more popular throughout the United States,” Lind said, “because it is pulling people away from mainstream music and showing them they can make their choices in terms of what they listen to, and not just turn on their radio and have it fed to them.”
Lind, the president of Lind Entertainment Corp. of Polk City, is the founder, organizer and driving force behind the RiverHawk Music Festival, which will be held from Thursday through Sunday at the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Dade City. It’s a weekend of food, camping, vendors, youth programs – and music.
So much, he said, that it’s possible to find any kind of music you like on one stage or another.
“You can explore musical avenues here at this show,” he said. “These bands are not hokey bands. They get with it, man. You’re going to hear great music and camp with your family. It rocks at night.”
As Lind noted, diversity will be the key word here. RiverHawk features something for everyone — alternative country, Rockabilly, Cajun, bluegrass, roots rock and more. The festival is offering more than 25 national touring bands on four stages, and the lineup includes Dave Alvin & the Guilty Ones, Searson, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Claire Lynch Band, Grand Slambovians, and Carolyn Wonderland — for starters.
The guitar licks start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, and continue daily from 10 a.m. until midnight – a constant stream of melodic sounds all throughout the ranch, Lind noted.
“The 90-acre Sertoma Youth Ranch is a beautiful wooded campground with a stream lining through it,” Lind said. “We started the show in 1995 in November, and it’s always been on that weekend. We’re at the point now where folks put it on their calendar and recognize it as a holiday as much as Thanksgiving. I think what they’re seeing and what they’re enjoying about it is it’s not a mainstream commercial festival. The music is diverse and unknown to most of the newcomers.”
That’s a key reason why Lind organized the festival 17 years ago: to provide a platform for a wide selection of music and talented performers that audiences might not be familiar with if they rarely stray beyond FM radio or MTV videos.
“Our statement normally is that 90 percent of the people only hear 10 percent of their available music in the world,” Lind said. “We have bands from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, England, Ireland and all over the United States, and these festivals are gaining popularity in that they’re showing people that there is a way to go to a music festival without the bombardment of big industry.”
If the music is diverse, so is the mood, and ambiance, that the bands conjure up at any one time during the day, he added.
“The atmosphere could be anywhere from relaxed to absolute boogie, because as the day increases, the music gets more intense and it grows with the day,” he said. “We have four stages of music at any given time. If you don’t like what you hear on one stage, take a walk and you’ll hear something else. We have great audience participation, and we have workshops that include playing on the banjo and guitar.”
What’s also important to keep in mind, Lind said, is that music isn’t the only thing happening at the festival.
“We have a lot of contests,” he said. “We play adult musical chairs set to a live band on Sunday. You’ve got to see a couple of hundred people doing musical chairs, it’s just crazy. Many of our acts are very theatrical and gaining a lot of crowd participation. We have tons of good quality cuisine, not just the junk food you’d normally get at a fair. We have gourmet chefs in our festival kitchen and festival vendors, and it’s really good food. We’re very particular about who we bring in for the food. And it’s a great place to do your Christmas shopping, because we have vendors who bring in their own soap and jewelry and stuff, and it’s all hand-made.”
This event started out in 1995 as the Wings and Strings Music Festival at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, but eventually got moved to Sertoma Youth Ranch, where the name was changed to RiverHawk Music Festival.
“We just parted ways with Fantasy of Flight and it was either have a chicken wing festival or re-name it because we didn’t have any airplanes,” Lind said.
Since then, the event has grown in size, and “the average attendance is around 30,000 people,” Lind said. “It’s a big family event. We have grandparents and their kids and their kids’ kids. The whole family is out there for four days.”
It’s also done for a good cause, he added.
“A large portion of the proceeds go to the Sertoma Youth Ranch,” he said. “Kids can go in there at the youth ranch and camp for free. These events support the camp for the year so kids can utilize the camp at no cost, and we have a total full schedule of events for the kids.”
Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, but no coolers. Advance tickets range in cost from $10 to $45 daily, although on Sunday there’s a $30 carload special.
Tickets for all four days are $115. Kids ages 13-18 get in for $15 a day, and kids ages 12 and under get in free.
The camp is at 85 Myers Road in Dade City. To learn more, call 863-984-8445, log on to www.riverhawkmusic.com, or email Riverhawk1@lindentertainment.com.

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A cool breeze from Saint Thomas blows away the local music scene.

Breeze Representing has a new single, "The Only One."

POINCIANA – He calls himself Breeze, and in between attending Poinciana High School and Valencia Community College, he’s found time for some unique activities: a burgeoning career as a reggae performer.
“My reggae style is very clear,” Breeze said. “It isn’t like it’s hardcore reggae, it’s more r& b and reggae.”
Now 23 years old, the native of Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands has found a lot of inspiration living in Poinciana — attending high school there, and still finding time to create his own music, record a single – “The Only One” – and tour across Central Florida, performing before local audiences.
Music has become his passion – and he’s throwing himself fully into it.
“This isn’t something I randomly picked up one day as a get rich quick scheme,” he said. “I’m just a happy person that I’m alive. I just try to represent life as best as I can.”
Breeze Representing, as his official stage name goes, has been performing for years now, and first got interested in music while he was still living in Saint Thomas, and began watching his older brother become a local performer.
“I moved over here when I was 11,” he said. “I’ve lived here now for 13 years, so I guess I would say I was raised most of my life in Florida.”
Central Florida has been good to him, he noted, giving him the inspiration to keep singing and finding new audiences.
“I try to do some stuff for fun, but for the most part, it’s true, you’ll be able to feel what I’m saying,” he said. “When you hear my song, you’ll have a really good feeling. That’s what it’s all about.”
He remembers listening to bands play on Saint Thomas, and falling in love with the music.
“When I first started doing music, it was when I was younger because my older brother had a group in the Virgin Islands, in Saint Thomas,” Breeze said. “He used to perform at certain places. From seeing that, I started singing, too.”
As a middle school student in Poinciana, “I started doing music with a group,” he said. “I got into a group and built a name in high school. Back then what I did was more r&b and hip hop. I rapped, also. But the reggae thing happened after I got out of high school and started doing music more seriously. So I developed my own style.”
What he was slow to do, he acknowledges, is learn to play an instrument.
“Funny thing about it – no,” he said. “But I’m picking it up now. I know it’s kind of late, but I’m starting to craft the art more and more. As serious as it is now for me, I’m actually trying to start learning now how to play the instruments, and I’m learning to play piano. But in high school I didn’t take those classes or anything, which is bad on my part.”
It was in high school when he met the producers that he now works with on singles like “The Only One,” and he’s been touring locally as well.
“I perform all over, in various places,” he said. “I had a performance at LAX recently.”
Audiences, Breeze has found, respond well to his brand of reggae.
“The feedback is always good,” he said. “I always get very positive feedback. What separates it is that you really listen to my music, it isn’t like I’m making this stuff up. The stuff I do is for fun, and my creativity is very wide and vast.”
Breeze has a YouTube account that he posts his songs on, and he appreciates the fact that it’s so much easier now to get his music out to a mass audience through the Internet – even though he worries that too many so-called “artists” with little or no talent are trying to do the same.
“I think that the concept of it is great,” he said. “When the media streaming world became more available, it did a lot of great things for a tremendous amount of people. But in that same token, it also lessens the greater factor of true art. Because of the media being so available right now to the vast amount of people, some people get drowned in that mess, you know, and not everyone is talented. It’s more 10 percent talent now, and 90 percent business.”
Breeze is likely to do well for a good reason, said Omar Warren: the young artist has talent.
“I have seen him perform, and I love his music,” said Warren, who lives in Poinciana. “He has a gift and it’s just a matter of positioning himself properly.”
Warren has worked with 360 Entertainment International, organizers of the SWAG tours, which stands for Students Who Achieve Greatness. Their mission is to use music as a way to encourage students toward positive achievements in their schools. the organization has sponsored the 360 EI High School Invasion Tour, which visits local high schools and organizes special music events for the students.
Warren said the business world offers greater opportunities than ever before for young artists like Breeze, since they can employ the Internet to reach a wide audience.
“With the proper social media setup, they can really flourish,” he said. “If you can get 1,000 fans to spend $100 a year, you can make $100,000 a year. There’s a lot of opportunities today for independent artists, and Breeze has a unique skill set.”

Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

On his way to Universal Studios, Amp Live promises an uptempo live show for Central Florida.

Producer/Beat Maker Amp Live, of Zion I, will be at Hard Rock Cafe-Universal Studios on Oct. 20.

ORLANDO — Producer/Beat Maker Amp Live, of Zion I, has a general rule he lives by when he’s on tour: be well in tune with the audience.
He plans to stick by that philosophy next week, when he’ll be performing with Bassnectar on Oct. 20 at Hard Rock Live-Universal Studios.
He expects his performance to be upbeat, and very hopping.
“I always try to just keep stuff really live in my show,” he said. “I play stuff live, and I play different drums, and I’m also playing my music, and I try to fit the vibe of the audience that’s coming,” he said. “I could go in and play whatever I wanted, and it might be a mellow set, but I might lose a lot of people. So I want to really have people have fun and fit the vibe of why they’re there.”
As an example of that, Amp Live said he might not play songs from his new EP, “You Are Not Human,” which is subtitled “The Love EP” and is based on a love theme.
“When I first went on tour a month ago, I had an opening slot, and I think I had a chance to play a little more of the experimental, down tempo stuff,” he said. “But in the position I’m in now, it’s a little more upbeat that I play. I may have to go with my harder stuff. I’ll be opening for Bassnectar, and I want to give a good show. You’ve got to sort of do a combination of stuff. What you want to do is play your original stuff, but in a format that people are into.”
The California native has developed a reputation as a talented and diverse music producer and recording artist. Known for his soulful beats for the hip hop group Zion I, he’s since produced CDs for major independent artist such as Akon, Flipsyde, Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussy Cat Dolls, Tokyo Police Club, MGMT, Linkin Park, Goapele and Mystic.
His work has also been featured in movies and TV shows, including ESPN’s “Playmakers,” “Big Fat Liar,” “America’s Next Top Model,” and “SportsCenter.”
“I’ve been around music all my life,” he said, during an interview with Freeline Media. “My dad played piano, and I played drums in church, and I’ve always been into piano and new music, especially hip hop in the 1980s. I’ve been exposed to all sorts of music.
“When I was in college, I got signed to a major record label, and I was able to get into the studio with a lot of big producers and engineers, and see different techniques and processes, and it really got me into seeing the details of how it’s done,” he added.
He described his music as the “art of fusion” – a mix of glitch, hip hop, quirky electronic, and Jazz. “You Are Not Human” is the first of what he says will be a series of EPs that he plans to release this year into 2012.

Amp Live's first solo EP, "You Are Not Human: The Love EP," is now available.

“ ‘You Are Not Human’ is the first of a series of EPs I’m doing,” he said. “I have another one coming out in December, and that will be another Jazz EP. I will be doing those for … I don’t know how long. This is my solo stuff. I’m also working on a new Zion I music album. I’m trying to keep busy.”
Amp Live has witnessed a lot of radical changes in the music industry in the past few years – including the fact that music can be easily downloaded today off the Internet, whether it’s through iTunes or YouTube videos. It essentially means anyone can get their music in front of a mass audience, even if they don’t have a record label backing them, he said.
“Big time, it’s opened up the playing field for everybody,” he said. “If you want to put your music out there, you can. With YouTube, people get a chance to listen to music for free.”
The down side for traditional artists, he said, is that the recording industry has no clue what the future of compact discs will be in an era when people can store their entire music collection on a laptop or iPad.
“The bad is that it definitely has dropped the CD sales,” he said. “But it’s also opened the gates for people who couldn’t get signed to a label. And studies have shown that even people who download their music on the Internet still buy CDs.”
Plus, no matter how many songs go streaming live on the Internet, that will never deter an audience’s love for a live performance at a venue like Hard Rock Café, he added.
“You can still make money off doing shows,” Amp Live said, adding that’s why artists like himself really need to be sure they connect with what the audience wants in that club or auditorium.
“People want to get off the grid, and they want to hear more live music,” he said. “There’s so many artists out there, and the economy has a lot to do with it. If I’m broke and I can only afford one show a month, what show do I want to see? Because there’s only a few ways to make money now, bands will be trying to do that.”
Amp Live sees some different trends starting to develop in the music world today.
“I think it’s just all over the place,” he said. “Electronic music is really big. Everything is a circle, and I think you look at the trends. If you were around in the ‘80s, it seems like it’s been the ‘80s again for the past six or seven years. Now it’s becoming a little bit more organic again, and stuff like Jazz and music that’s a little imperfect that people want to hear. Everything has a new twist.”
He expects that’s going to be true on Thursday, Oct. 20, when he comes to Hard Rock Café.
“It sounds like the people are going to want some bass, and luckily I like bass,” he said. “I’ve performed there with the hip hop group I’m in, and the last time I was there was with the reggae group Revolution. We performed at Universal and it went really well.”
What he found from past performances, he said, was that Central Florida audiences love a really good live show.
“It was great, man,” he said. “We’re on totally opposite ends of the country, and it’s fun to see how people react to our show.”
The show starts at 9 p.m., when Amp Live plays with Bassnectar in their continuation of the Divergent Spectrum Tour. For ticket information, log on to http://www.ticketfly.com/event/49345/.
To check out more of Amp Live’s music, log on to http://www.amplivesworld.com,
http://www.twitter.com/amplive, and http://www.facebook.com/amplive.

Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

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