FLORIDA KEYS — Live musical performances, concerts and music festivals provide Florida Keys visitors a well-rounded winter 2020 roster of arts and cultural events. While a number of notable musical goings-on are listed here, a complete calendar of creativity can be found at fla-keys.com/calendar/arts-culture/florida-keys/current/.
Florida Keys Concert Association presents a handful of extraordinary performances in both Marathon and Islamorada through March. Audiences can enjoy the Canellakis/Brown Duo of cello and piano (Feb. 10, 11); remarkable performances by Lincoln Trio, chosen to celebrate the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial celebration with President Barack Obama (Feb. 24, 25); and one of the most highly anticipated events of the season, An Evening of Opera Highlights (March. 2, 3). Shows start at 7:30 p.m.
The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton St., also presents multiple opportunities to enjoy live music. Among performers are one of today’s most prolific songwriters, Johnsmith, with guest Dan Sebranek (Feb. 13), Tom Rush presenting his signature ballads and gritty blues (March 9) and renowned acoustic picker Cary Morin (April 9).
Impromptu Classical Concerts of Key West has brought stellar chamber music artists, ensembles and string orchestras to the Florida Keys for decades. The acclaimed organization’s 2020 season continues that tradition with the Rascher Saxophone Quartet (Feb. 23); a 2020 rising star pianist, Natalia Kazaryan (March 8); and the Calidore String Quartet (March 22). Performances take place at 4 p.m. at the historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 401 Duval St.
In Marathon, the annual American Legion Riders Coral Head Music Festival (Feb. 15) is a full-day mashup of rock ‘n’ roll, Southern rock and country music by nationally known bands Night Ranger and Confederate Railroad, who are to join several other musical groups to raise money for veterans and Florida Keys charities. The event is to be staged at the Marathon Community Park’s amphitheater, mile marker 49 oceanside.
Rams Head Presents Key West brings several big-name acts to three separate venues as part of the Key West Concert Series:
- The Key West Theater at 512 Eaton St. delights music lovers with a packed season of performances including two shows by Los Lobos, known internationally for their smash hits “Come On, Let’s Go” and “La Bamba” (Feb. 11, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.) and the Moody Blues’ John Lodge (Feb. 25). Subsequent headliners include John Tesh (March 1), and 10,000 Maniacs (April 25) among a jam-packed schedule. For most shows, doors open at 7 p.m. and shows start at 8 p.m.
- A multipurpose venue located at Key West’s 24 North Hotel, 3820 N. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West’s Sunset Green Event Lawn is to host Here Come the Mummies (Feb. 16); George Thorogood and the Destroyers (March 8); The Temptations (April. 5); and 38 Special (April 10).
- At the Key West Amphitheater, 21 E. Quay Road, music lovers can catch Kool & the Gang with the Village People (Feb. 21) and The Revivalists with Stephen Marley and PJ Morton (April 18), among others.
Also in Key West, the cool arrangements of the 17-piece Paradise Big Band hit the stage at the Tennessee Williams Theater (March 29) located at 5901 College Road. The performance begins at 8 p.m.
For an outdoor blanket-on-the-lawn experience, the Florida Keys Community Concert Band hosts free public “Pops in the Park” concerts. Upcoming performances, each on Saturday afternoons at 4 p.m., include a pet-friendly “Wild Kingdom” concert (Feb. 29) and a traditional end-of-season “Young Musicians” concert featuring local students (April 25). Performances are held at Founders Park, mile marker 88 bayside on Plantation Key. The season’s only Key Largo concert is a “Springtime Serenade” of songs (March 28) at the Murray Nelson Government and Cultural Center, mile marker 102.
Sunday, April 5, is BayJam26 a premier outdoor music and art festival at Islamorada’s ICE Amphitheater at Founder’s Park, mile marker 87. The not-for-profit Islamorada Community Entertainment presents the festival from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.. Proceeds help fund in-school programs as well as art, music and dance scholarships for Upper Keys high school students.
In late spring, two multiday events feature America’s foremost performing songwriters appearing on multiple stages and venues. The Key West Songwriters Festival (May 6-10) typically includes more than 50 shows and over 200 country and pop music hitmakers, while the Key Largo Original Music Festival (May 14-17) traditionally combines pop, rock, blues, jazz and country.
BayJam26 fills that stage at ICE Amphitheater in Islamorada for its daylong music festival in April.