Now Reading
Realize Bradenton: Music in the Park

Realize Bradenton: Music in the Park

By Emma Taylor

Realize Bradenton’s Music in the Park series will be returning to the Riverwalk in March for its eleventh year of bringing residents together for scenic entertainment. The Friday night performance series is free, family-friendly, and offers an eclectic mix of artists catering to different musical tastes. Our beautiful riverfront park and Bradenton’s impressive roster of local musical talent make a divine pairing for a springtime event!

The Eric Von Band will be kicking off this year’s performances on March 22. Band leader Eric Von is no stranger to Music in the Park — 2024 will be his third time playing the event. The fifth-generation Florida native was raised in Cortez Village and has been a vibrant voice in the Manatee County music scene since he was a teen.

From Orlando to Nashville, Von’s music has taken him many places over the years. After about five years in Tennessee where he was averaging 200 shows a year, Von realized his capacity for success could easily translate in his hometown. Ultimately, it was the people and the opportunities in Bradenton that led him back to where it all started.

“I don’t call the audience fans. I call them friends,” Von said earnestly of his following. “I love making music, but the coolest thing I think it’s done for me is that it has allowed me to help people and make lasting connections. Music is about people coming together for a common cause, and often, the music is just the catalyst for the good that comes from community,” he elaborated.

Initiatives like The Bradenton Market, Winter Wonderland, the Bradenton Blues Festival, and Music in the Park provide residents with different activities throughout the year, but the very special thing they all have in common is the attendees. Providing opportunities for residents to commune in joyful environments breeds connection and can even serve as launching pads for shared ideas or new career paths. The beginning of Von’s musical journey itself is evidence of the power of such gatherings.

Lead guitarist for the Eric Von Band, Tim Chandler, caught Von eyeing his finger work at a celebration of life more than 20 years ago and approached him to ask if he played. At 14 years old, Von only knew a handful of tunes, but the response to his performance and support from Chandler helped to spark Von’s 24-year career playing country rock around the U.S.

In addition to the musical nudge, Chandler’s advice has helped to form Von’s outlook on the business by stressing the importance of deep and lasting personal relationships — a constant undercurrent for Von when discussing his purpose and love of his craft. He places great emphasis on the grassroots power that goes hand-in-hand with live music — noting that it’s one thing to help out a large cause, but he feels the most powerful support comes from identifying with individuals.

With more than two decades as a performer behind him, Von has done it all, including the sometimes-curated shows that can be very rigid. “Truthfully, we’re just messing around and having a good time,” he said in favor of the more relaxed atmosphere.

“If the audience is having fun, we’re having fun!”

The positivity that’s born from collective events is at the core of Realize Bradenton’s mission, making the enthusiastic and good vibe-centric Eric Von Band an excellent choice for this year’s first headliner.

Andrea Knies, Realize Bradenton’s Director of Communications, said of the project, “At Realize Bradenton, we strive to bring people together. And what better way to do that than through music! Thanks to generous grants and community support, we’re able to produce these free concerts featuring local musicians along our stunning Riverwalk. Music in the Park is a showcase of the talent, beauty, and generosity that make Bradenton such a special place.” 

Bradenton has always been a special place, but the work of Realize Bradenton in recent years has helped immensely to highlight that fact. Through their dedicated efforts, they have been able to showcase Bradenton’s latent beauty and talent that may have otherwise been left wanting for an opportunity to shine.

As Von pointed out, we live in a place with a rich musical past. “Let’s not forget the incredible artists that have come out of Florida and even Bradenton! I mean, from Dickie Betts to the Allman Brothers, you have some real legends that have history here,” he enthusiastically recalled.

Realize Bradenton doesn’t need to fly in talent from all around the country, nor do they need to erect new forums for performing. The creative energy is here in the residents. They just need a platform and enough people who like free music, and the magic happens naturally.

This year’s Music in the Park series will be taking place on Friday nights from March 22 to April 26. More information and the lineup can be viewed on A list of local shows and booking information for Eric Von can be found at

Bring a chair or blanket, friends, and your
leashed pups to this free, family-friendly
music series.

Fridays, March 22–April 26, 2024, 6–8 p.m.
At the Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion
452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205

2024 Music in the Park Schedule & Lineup:
March 22: Eric Von Band (Country)
March 29: soulRcoaster (Rock)
April 5: Glass Onion Beatles Band (Beatles Tribute)
April 12: SweetFleet (Fleetwood Mac Tribute)
April 19: Monkey Finger (Rock)
April 26: Kristopher James (Singer/Songwriter)

Scroll To Top