The shores of Lake Wales welcomed back the Orange Blossom Revue which brings together roots music, craft beer, food trucks and a slew of fans yearning for this unique combination of comfort and excitement. Presented by the Blossom Charitable Foundation, Inc., proceeds from the event go to help underwrite art, education, and recreation programming in the Lake Wales community. This year’s event swelled in size with travelers coming from all over to join in the festivities.
HARPER O’NEILL kicked off the festivities on Friday afternoon and wasted no time showing how talented she is. Born in Dallas Texas, now living in Nashville, Tennessee. Harper graced the crowd dressed in her Orange themed jumpsuit and jumped right in with her undeniable vocals, you know the same kind of vocals of Bonnie Rait, Susan Tedeschi, and Janis Joplin to name a few. She had the crowd from the very first note promoting her new album “Dark Bar Daisy” with her hit songs “Guilty” and “Somebody”. Harper amazed the growing crowd when she performed Susan Tedeschi’s “It Hurt So Bad.” Her vocals are stunning, not to mention her great guitar playing. You need to check her out now if you haven’t already.
Pop music has Taylor Swift and Bluegrass has MOLLY TUTTLE. Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway hit the already smoking stage and ignited the entire population of POLK County Florida and beyond as their sweet sounds carried through every attendee, across the lake and through the groves. Molly’s persona is idolized, as I witnessed this in the crowd from the oldest of music fans to the youngest fans. Molly’s beauty along with her multi-instrumental talents had the fans grooving along to songs like “Evergreen”, “Down Home Dispensary”, The Jefferson Airplanes “White Rabbit”, “Crooked Trees” and the famed “Dooley’s Farm”. Molly is going nowhere but to the top as she has been named “2020 & 2021 Guitar Player of the Year”, “2021 Female Vocalist of the Year”, and “2022 Entertainer of the Year” by The International Bluegrass Music Awards.
Photo Gallery: Follow Molly Here: https://bandcamp.com/search?q=molly%2Btuttle&item_type
THE WOOD BROTHERS are no strangers to the Orange Blossom Revue. With their new album “Heart Is the Hero” and on the heels of a major 2024 tour announcement they graced the stage playing many of the hits from their extensive music catalog like “Someone for Everyone”, and “Wastin’ My Mind”. The Wood brothers had every fan grooving in the grove as they never disappoint!
Follow The Wood Brothers Here: https://www.thewoodbros.com/
The party didn’t stop there as fans made their way back to the campgrounds and mini bluegrass singalongs started to fill the air. Everyone was still full from the awesome assortment of food trucks and the VIP Catered food. John Denver’s country roads took everyone home to sleep in the wee hours of fog and Spanish moss. Saturday Morning came quick, and the fog was reluctant to lift, but when it did that sun shined through. The crowd was energized and ready to get down, there was something in the air, this weekend was on fire! The crowd grew and grew as the morning progressed into the day.
Veterans of the Orange Blossom Revue, CAT RIDGEWAY & The TOURISTS hit the stage to start Saturday’s jams and they brought the rock and roll right out of the box! They killed it with their version of “Dreams” by The Cranberries as well as many other jams. When Cat is not rocking out with the Tourists, she can be found in the Colorado music scene jamming and selling coffee! Yes, that’s right Coffee! And her coffee is KICK ASS! (are you seeing this MIKE GORDON?) Be sure to try it as soon as you can!
Follow Cat Here: https://www.catridgeway.com/
Get the Coffee Here: https://www.catridgeway.com/store?category=Coffee
Even though she’s based in Nashville, Tennessee, KAITLIN BUTTS roots come from Tulsa, Oklahoma where she learned the guitar at age fifteen to compliment her beautiful voice. She played many boot-scootin’ tunes to the crowd’s delight, but they went wild when Kaitlin busted into The Okie himself, Merle Haggard’s, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”.
Check out Kaitlin here: https://www.kaitlinbutts.com/
MIKE and THE MOONPIES rounded out the afternoon with their bar stomping sounds with hits like “Paycheck to Paycheck” and “Steak Night at the Prairie Rose”. Mike and The Moonpies took the energy baton and ran it to the sky! The crowd was on fire bursting with an unexplainable amount of energy going into the sunset!
Follow Mike and The Moonpies here: https://www.themoonpies.com/
BRENT COBB took the stage looking out at a field of fans packed in Lake Wailes Park. They played hits including “Livin’ the Dream”, “Keep “Em on They Toes”, and “Sucker for a Good Time”.
Check them out here: https://www.brentcobbmusic.com/
JJ GREY & MOFRO took to the stage and no fire department in the world could extinguish the flame he brought! Fans have been waiting years for his new album, “OLUSTEE”. There was something on that stage with JJ and his band that you can’t put into words. Everyone and everything were all in the right place and at the right time, and that time was now 2023 Orange Blossom Revue.
JJ started the show with “99 Shades of Crazy.” JJ Grey himself acknowledged the presence of a force of energy taking over the place right before taking us into “Walking on Air”. The band went on to play a fan favorite “Lochloosa”, and the new hit “Rooster.” It wouldn’t be a Revue without “Orange Blossoms”, as the entire crowd sang along!
Follow JJ Grey & Mofro here: https://www.jjgrey.com/
Joel Shover took lots of photos from the festival grounds and of fans.
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