Top December concerts, music festivals Tampa Bay, Sarasota-Bradenton

Top December concerts, music festivals Tampa Bay, Sarasota-Bradenton

As we near the year’s end and the winter holiday season, the lineup of concert tours and music festivals will start to slow down, but not entirely — in fact, some of the biggest concerts of the year locally are still set to take place before 2022 comes to a close.

It all starts this weekend with the return of Bradenton Blues Festival, Sarasota-Manatee’s biggest annual music festival, along with a headlining concert by one of Tampa Bay’s biggest musical success stories in recent years and alternative rock radio station 97X’s annual music fest Next Big Thing. Other area radio stations will throw their own end-of-year concerts, including US 103.5’s Country Jam and 93.3 FLZ’s Jingle Ball, with the latter kicking off a whole weekend of live music at Tampa’s Amalie Arena.

Here are the 10 biggest concerts and music festivals set to visit Tampa Bay and Sarasota-Manatee in December, presented in chronological order. Event details are subject to change.

Bradenton Blues Festival

Ana Popovic.

Friday-Sunday; Bradenton Riverwalk;

The 11th annual music festival featuring national and international names in the blues returns this weekend to its longtime home of Bradenton Riverwalk, after taking place at nearby LECOM Park the last two years due to the pandemic. Serbia-born blues guitarist/singer Ana Popovic will headline Saturday’s main concert along with other musicians including blues-rock favorites Mike Zito and Florida’s own Albert Castiglia, who will perform separate sets then together as the Blood Brothers.

The weekend’s festivities will also include a Friday concert featuring acts such as Louisiana’s Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe and Australian-American harmonica/didgeridoo player Peter Harper, and a Blues Brunch Sunday at Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille featuring Kansas-based band Dustin Arbuckle and the Damnations. Numerous Blues Festival performers will also play headlining shows at local venues.

97X Next Big Thing

Jack White.

Saturday-Sunday; MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa;

Tampa Bay alternative rock station 97X’s annual music festival returns this weekend, taking place over two days at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. Machine Gun Kelly, who made a successful switch from rap to pop-punk with his 2020 No. 1 album “Tickets to My Downfall” and just earned a Best Rock Album Grammy nomination for this year’s follow-up “Mainstream Sellout,” will top the bill Saturday.  

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