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Jiggs Landing of Bradenton plots the course of its concert series

The popular Manatee County park hosts live music Wednesday through Sundays.


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So my days of big concerts are pretty much done.

Far in the rearview mirror were a string of Bruce Springsteen concerts as the Boss was No. 1 in my book.

Throw in KISS at Madison Square Garden (my buddy and I were 18 at the time and therefore by far the oldest people in the arena), Lynyrd Skynyrd (a few days before the band's plane went down), Barry Manilow (when he was still singing his jingles such as "Like a Good Neighbor," of "Stuck on Band-Aid"), Blood, Sweat and Tears, the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Chuck Berry, Gretchen Wilson, Heart, Journey, George Thorogood. 

I left a good part of my hearing at a Rush concert.

I had Elvis tickets for his concert at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. He died the Tuesday before.

Live music was my passion, or I should say live entertainment. I loved seeing people show off their talent, and that might mean a stroll on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco for the street entertainers or a few drinks at the Slippery Noodle, Indianapolis' oldest blues rock club.

And, as a crusty old man might say, boy has the world changed.

After finding out it would cost me $263 for a behind-the-stage Bruce Springsteen ticket at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Feb. 1, I gave late rites to my big concert hopes. I will sit down and fire up my turntable instead.

My attention now turns to small venues. That might mean bars and restaurants, or community events.

It's tough, though, because fewer food and drink establishments can afford live entertainment. The opportunities are out there, though, if you look.

One such opportunity is right here in East County. On a Sunday drive, I stopped by Jiggs Landing, which is located at 6106 63rd St. E., Bradenton, to take a look at the scenery. I was surprised to see that a duo called the Bluegrass Pirates were set up on the small stage alongside the lake. Better yet, they were good. Real good.

So if you haven't been to Jiggs Landing for a while, you might like to know they have live music 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. The Friday and Saturday music carries a $5 cover charge if you want to sit in front of the stage or immediately around it. The other days are free.

Denise Kleiner owns the concession service at Jiggs Landing and she was hoping the live music would bring more people to the area, and perhaps stimulate growth in other aspects of the park, including the rental of fishing tackle, boats and cabins.

It certainly should generate some added business in terms of adult beverages. I had a few myself.

Kleiner has proceeded cautiously when it came to bringing live music to the Manatee County park. 

"We do not play any heavy rock," she said. "And we do have a digital decibel meter."

She's only received one noise complaint in 2022, and that was a polite one.

"I've started slow (with the music) to figure out my market," she said.

She ran into one problem recently she didn't anticipate.

A man had brought a child to the park to use the playground on a Saturday. The Friday and Saturday shows have a $5 cover charge because those bands have more musicians and are more expensive to book.

Hal Meyers fires up his banjo at Jiggs Landing. (Photo by Jay Heater)
Hal Meyers fires up his banjo at Jiggs Landing. (Photo by Jay Heater)

When the man came to the concession stand to buy a beer, he was asked to pay the cover charge. He became angry, saying he wasn't there to listen to the music. He then submitted a complaint with the county.

Kleiner said county representatives decided it was an isolated incident and didn't take any action. However, Kleiner now designates an "entertainment area," where you are asked to pay the cover charge to sit in that area to enjoy the music. The playground and pavilion areas are outside that area and therefore not affected by the cover charge.

Generally, Kleiner said those who have been attending the live shows understand that in order for her to get musicians, she has to find a way to pay them.

"The bands are pretty expensive, but it's interesting because we've pretty much hit it out of the park," she said. "Most people have no problem with a $5 cover charge."

The venue has averaged 40 to 50 people during live entertainment. No music is played after dark. 

It was a charming venue for the Bluegrass Pirates, with Hal Meyers and Cindie Breeze providing the entertainment. It was very folksy, but lively as well.

I looked through a list of songs on their play list, and found an interesting mix such as "Secret Agent Man," "Stairway to Heaven," and "Sweet Home Alabama" along with more bluegrass oriented songs such as "Say Nothing at All" and "Wabash Cannonball."

"People already are asking us to have them back," Kleiner said. "They've already developed their own following."

Other performers are doing the same, so it appears the series will continue.

With people fishing from the banks of the Braden River, all the birds performing their daily flyover, the sun dropping low in the sky, and Happy Hour prices, it was perfect.

If you want to know more about the music lineup or the rentals, go to the Jiggs Landing Facebook page at Facebook.com/jiggslandingoutpost. They are considering to start an open mic night on Mondays beginning in December.

"If you are looking for something to do (and you live in East County), this isn't too far," Kleiner said.

 

author

Jay Heater

Jay Heater is the managing editor of the East County Observer. Overall, he has been in the business more than 41 years, 26 spent at the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay area as a sportswriter covering college football and basketball, boxing and horse racing.