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Friday, Mar 27, 2015
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Will McLean Music Festival celebrates 25 years

Hernando Today correspondent


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More than 50 acoustic singer/songwriters will take the stage on March 7-9 at the 25th annual Will McLean Music Festival next weekend at the Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville.

The annual music festival, honoring Florida's "Black Hat Troubadour," Will McLean, features Florida performers and songs and music about Florida itself.

"Will McLean's songs are passionate appeals to take care of one small area of Earth, his beloved Florida. A fifth generation Floridian, he is a member of the Florida Artists Hall of Fame," said Margaret Longhill, board member of the Will McLean Foundation.

"Today, Florida has a rich folk music community, with artists from the Panhandle to Miami, who claim him as their mentor, and who, in turn, write and sing about Florida," Longhill said.

Performances will take place on five stages at the festival. Other activities include storytelling, a young folk performer section and a children's corner, music workshops, as well as selected arts and crafts and lots of food.

Musical workshops have become a very popular feature of the festival, offering teaching sessions in guitar, banjo, dulcimer, autoharp, harmonica, native flute, drumming, and song writing.

"We are especially pleased about the "Young Folk" section of the festival," said Longhill.

Each year at the festival, winners of the "Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest" are announced. This year, the first place winner is Jane Fallon for her song, "Before the Fire (Rosewood)." The second place winner is Larry Mangum for his song, "Florida," and 3rd place winner is Ray Sealey for his song, "Kissimmee Prairie Dream." Each winner will perform the songs at noon on March 8 on the main stage.

Single day admission tickets are $20 for Friday, $25 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. Children under 12 are free. Adult admission 3-day tickets are $40 at the gate.

Festival attendees will also have the opportunity to spend the weekend camping with the musicians, and to join the campfire circles after the stages close down at night.

Camping hookup with electric and water is $25 per day. Rough camping and/or tent camping is $10 per day. Camping is first come, first served. Campers may arrive as early as March 5 if desired.

The musical festival will be held on the grounds of the Sertoma Youth Ranch, located at 85 Meyers Road, in Brooksville, just east of I-75 at exit 293.

Continuous performances run on March 7, from noon until 11 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

For more info, contact (352) 489-3766 or visit

Hernando Today correspondent Heather Francis can be reached at

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