Top Headliners To Appear At Verizon Music Festival Oct. 24-27 In Tampa Bay Area

Tampa, Fla. -- A dazzling lineup of entertainers will appear on stages across the Tampa Bay area this fall during the Verizon Music Festival. The festival, scheduled for Oct. 24-27, will feature Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Wynonna, Arturo Sandoval, Femi Kuti, Buckwheat Zydeco, Afro-Cuban All Stars, and George Wein and the Newport All-Stars among others.

In addition to concerts featuring the headline acts, there will be performances by some of the region's best emerging talent.

Performances will take place in venues in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Festival locations will include Coachman Park, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Ruth Eckerd Hall, The Coliseum and Skipper's Smokehouse.

The Tampa Bay event is the third in a series of festivals sponsored by Verizon this year. The Verizon Music Festival premiered earlier this month in New York City and another festival is set for Los Angeles Sept. 28 -- Oct. 2.

"The line-up of star talent and newcomers in this first Verizon Music Festival in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market reflects the history and importance of music in this great region," said John Blanchard, president-Southeast region, Verizon. "The festival is truly a reflection of the cultures and tastes of our Florida customers and communities. We are honored to be able to bring such rich and diverse music to so many people."

The Verizon Music Festival will kick off Oct. 24 with a concert by the Afro-Cuban All-Stars, Buckwheat Zydeco and two emerging artists at Carol Morsani Hall at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. The concert is free, however tickets are required.

On Oct. 25, the Verizon Music Festival will feature "An Evening of Swing and Dance" at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg. The event will star George Wein and the Newport All-Stars with Ken Peplowski, Warren Vaché, Howard Alden, and local jazzmen Eddie Metz, Jr., and Mark Neuenschwander, plus the ever-popular Johnny Varro Swing 7.

Also on Oct. 25, Chuck Berry's 75th Birthday Bash, with special guest Little Richard, will be held at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. One of the festival's emerging artists will perform on the hall's outdoor stage.

The festival also will include performances by such diverse stars as Arturo Sandoval, Femi Kuti & Positive Force, Larry Coryell & Count Jam's Band, Claudia Acuna and several emerging artists. (Note: Full festival schedule follows this release.)

"We are extremely proud to bring the Verizon Music Festival to the Tampa-St. Petersburg market and entertain the region's music community," said George Wein, CEO of Festival Productions, Inc., producer of the festival. "The Tampa Bay area has always been diverse, so we're excited to showcase the region's love for country, blues, soul and Latin music in one comprehensive musical celebration."

Tickets for paid shows can be obtained at venue box offices, all Ticketmaster outlets throughout the region or by calling Ticketmaster at 813-287-8844. More information about the Tampa concerts, including the free kick-off concert, also can be obtained by calling 813-545-8631.

In addition to the Verizon Music Festival in the Tampa Bay area, Festival Productions, Inc. produced the Verizon Music Festival in New York Aug.7-11 and will stage the Verizon Music Festival in Los Angeles Sept. 28 -- Oct. 2.

For updated festival information, visit these websites: www.festivalproductions.net or www.verizon.com/musicfestival.

For more than 45 years, George Wein and Festival Productions Inc., have been the preeminent producers of music festivals and entertainment properties in the world, including the famed Newport Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the JVC Jazz Festivals Worldwide, among others. Throughout the years, FPI has built a storied reputation as the foremost experts in festival productions and Wein has personally worked with venerable jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 125 million access line equivalents and approximately 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.



Bob Elek, Verizon,

Dan Klores Communications:

Susan Makarichev, 212-981-5243

Jeff Levinsohn, 212-981-5236

Michele Paolella, 212-981-5116

Verizon Music Festival schedule for Tampa Bay area:

Wednesday, Oct. 24

Afro-Cuban All Stars

Buckwheat Zydeco

Ronnie Elliott

Michael Ross Quartet

Carol Morsani Hall, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa, 7:30 p.m.

Free ticket event, open to the public

Thursday, Oct. 25

Chuck Berry's 75th Birthday Bash

With Special Guest: Little Richard

The Michael Ross Quartet on the outdoor stage

Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, 8 p.m.

"Jazz The Way You Like It: An Evening of Swing & Dance"

George Wein and the Newport All-Stars

with Ken Peplowski, Warren Vaché & Howard Alden

Plus Johnny Varro Swing 7

The Coliseum, St. Petersburg, 7 p.m.

Papa Grows Funk with John Gros, Jason Mingledorff, June Yamagishi,

Russell Batiste, Jr. & Marc Pero

The Damon Fowler Group

Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.

Friday, Oct 26


Daniel Lee Martin

Halcyon performing on an outdoor stage

Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 27

Arturo Sandoval

Femi Kuti & Positive Force

Claudia Acuna

Larry Coryell & the Count's Jam Band with Steve Marcus, Jeff Berlin & Danny Gottlieb

The Damon Fowler Group


Coachman Park, Clearwater 1 p.m.

Free, open to the public

Merl Saunders and His Funky Friends

Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.