By Joe Crews
For Hometown News
Nearly 160 musical acts and a thousand or so of their current and soon-to-be fans will descend on downtown DeLand Saturday, April 13, for the second annual Delandapalooza.
The music festival is an offshoot of the DeLand Original Music Festival, which has been staged the past 12 falls, said promoter Phil Weidner, founder and president of Daytona Beach-based Songwriters Showcases of America.
"It went over well last year, so we're holding it again," Mr. Weidner said of Delandapalooza. "We moved it up a couple of weeks earlier to try to beat the heat."
Last year, heat and afternoon rain put a bit of a damper on the event, he said. Likely better weather was the same rationale used when the fall music fest was moved to a later date in November.
This year's event is spread out over more than two-dozen stages, 18 of which are outdoors, he said. The first acts will start at 1 p.m. at a few venues, and the last ones will hit various stages around midnight or just afterward.
For the first time, Delandapalooza is bringing in a headliner, Mr. Weidner said. Sauce Boss, a.k.a. Bill Wharton, will play blues at Cafe DaVinci, beginning at 9 p.m.
Downtown businesses are very supportive of the event, Mr. Weidner said.
"Bringing in a couple of thousand people on a Saturday is always good for the merchants," he said.
Bill Budzinski, owner of the Elusive Grape, where bands will perform on stages both inside and out back, agreed with Mr. Weidner.
"Heck yeah," the wine-and-beer proprietor said when asked if it helps boost his business. "It's always a great day It brings a lot of people to downtown."
Mr. Budzinski said he has hosted acts for Delandapalooza and the fall festival for many years because they always generate additional business -- not just for him, but also for all the downtown merchants.
The businesses do not choose which acts will appear on its stages. At the Grape, which has a slightly older crowd, the performers will perform mostly "jazzy, lighter fare," he said.
"Phil Weidner tries to pair the acts with the location," he said. "I don't really have a say."
Mary Beth Harris, executive director of MainStreet DeLand Association, agreed the merchants get a big benefit, and not just the day of the event.
"The fact that Phil (Weidner) has music on multiple stages for 12 hours brings tremendous business," Ms. Harris said. "The people who come are dazzled by DeLand and come back later. Now that Phil is doing it twice a year, it's twice as much fun."
As of last week, 27 stages will be set up around the downtown area. According to the organizers' website (www.ssa.cc), there will be three each at Café DaVinci and Issues Lounge and Package, two each at Elusive Grape, Dublin Station and Steve's Downtown Music; all will have indoor and outdoor stages.
There will also be stages at the Indiana Avenue steps of the Historic Court House, Chess Park, Georgia Avenue, Pioneer Park and De La Vega Restaurante y Galleria (all outdoors); and indoor venues at Manzano's Deli; Coffee Bistro; Bill & Frank's Brickhouse Grill; Abbey; Dick & Jane's Coffee Shop; The Beacon Garage; The Nest; Main Street Grill; Blind Pig Tavern; and The Grotto.