Sarasota motorcycle festival reveals musical headliners as well as new events
Thunder by the Bay, the Sarasota festival that draws thousands of motorcycle and live music enthusiasts alike, has announced the entertainment lineup for next year’s event.
The 20th annual fundraiser for Suncoast Charities for Children will take place Feb. 15-18, with the two-day, free to the public festival portion of the weekend happening Feb. 17-18 at Sarasota County Fairgrounds. The event has moved locations again after leaving downtown Sarasota for the first time last year to Lakewood Ranch’s Premier Sports Campus.
Tim McGraw tribute act Vegas McGraw, which features Nashville recording artist and Las Vegas entertainer Adam D. Tucker recreating the music of the country star, will headline Feb. 17. Bobby Friss, a Florida rock native who has played other motorcycle festivals including Harley-Davidson’s 100th anniversary celebration and previously Thunder by the Bay, will top the bill Feb. 18.
Other acts performing include the tribute bands Alter Eagles (Eagles), China Grove (The Doobie Brothers), U.S. Stones (The Rolling Stones) and Diary of an Ozzman (Ozzy Osbourne), as well as Tobacco Rd Band, Soul Circus Cowboys, The Boss Hawg Band, Twinkle and The Billy Rice Band.
Previous headliners for the festival include Blue Oyster Cult, the band behind such classic rock favorites as “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” “Godzilla” and “Burnin’ for You,” that played this year. In 2016, Highway to Hell, an acclaimed AC/DC tribute band, headlined. Great White, the rock group best known for its hit single “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” topped the music bill in 2015.
New events planned for this year’s Thunder by the Bay include a “Bikes on Main” Block Party to be held in downtown Sarasota, fireworks, a “Ride for Riches” charity event including both cars and motorcycles, a motorcycle rodeo, three types of bike shows and a “Miss Thunder by the Bay” contest.
Returning events include a motorcycle charity ride, sporting clay tournament and a “Born to Be Wild” kickoff party. For more information about Thunder by the Bay, visit thunderbythebay.org.