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Newsletter – Barbara-O-Gram 2008 1029

Hey there sweet family,

Every year we head down to the Sarasota Blues Fest and encourage you to as well. One of the reasons we do so is that its executive producer, Barbara Strauss, is … well … we’ll let someone else introduce you to her … so you won’t think we’re biased 😉 :

Barbara Strauss is a powerhouse or, as one of her friends said to me, she’s a force of nature. She’s high energy and, excuse the Palin-esque term, “kinda spunky, ya know.” She looks like a musician with her dark sunglasses, even darker long hair, and I don’t think I have ever seen her in anything but a black t-shirt and black pants (although she swears she alternates with jeans and white t-shitrs). She lives and loves her job.

Barbara is the Executive Producer of the Sarasota Blues Festival, coming up on November 1. She’s not just the producer though, she is the owner, publicist, marketer, and everything else rolled in to one. That’s not to say that she does it all by herself, no, she has a cadre of dedicated and loyal volunteers that she speaks highly of. In fact, it was a chore to get Barbara to really say anything about herself when we met last week. She did confess a serious sugar addiction, which she feed, while we talked, with some chocolate on chocolate kind of Barnes & Noble pastry. She constantly moved the conversation away from herself and back to the Blues Festival and to the PAL Sailor Circus. I could have dug deeper, but what she was saying was important and that’s what you’re getting here.

This year is the 18th Annual Sarasota Blues Festival. Barbara took over the reigns way back in the third year. The Blues Festival is a big event, with big stars and big crowds. One thing that isn’t big is the price of the event. Barbara is quick to point out the Sarasota Blues Festival is for everyone and keeping the price at $20 ($25 the day of) is very important to her. She wants to make sure it’s affordable entertainment for the whole family; you can take your kids with you for free (now, if you are 80 and your kids are 60- don’t push it). But seriously, parents with four kids get in for just the cost of the adults.

This year the line-up at the Festival includes triple 2008 Blues Music Award winner and Blues Hall of Famer Bobby Rush. Other acts include JJ Grey & Mofro, Bob Margolin, Diunna Greenleaf, Jason Ricci & New Blood, The All Stars and the Wyatt Garey Band. Starting time is 11:00 am at Ed Smith (baseball) Stadium. All the information is at .

Now, a little more about Barbara: She’s been around and doing what she loves for a long time. “Back in the day” she was the publicist for Twinkle and a go between with Warner Records. Today, in addition to the Blues Fest, Barbara works with some high profile clients and does a lot of volunteer work for the PAL Sailor Circus. For the last few years Barbara has produced fundraising concerts for the circus featuring acts like STYX and Foreigner. The sell-out performances have raised a good amount of money for the Pal Sailor Circus en route to their fundraising goals to renovate the buildings and continue their great programs with kids throughout the area. Barbara is also a major supporter via contributions made to the circus from the Blues Festival.

To wrap up this Featured Artist segment, I am going to recap the highlights: Barb is cool. Sarasota Blues Festival is November 1st at Ed Smith Stadium and is the cheapest concert you’ll ever find with multiple, national acts appearing. Kids are free. PAL Sailor Circus needs to raise more money. Oh yeah, Sarasota Blues Festival is fun and cheap (I know I repeated). Rick


For a photo to enhance the above love fest, click:

Take care and know that you, and Barbara, are loved,

Lana and Rowland


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