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Franni's Fest

Back in 1993, Franni Howe-Southern, a woman who had dedicated the past decade or so to promoting local roots music, decided to have a little party. She got a few bands to come to her back yard, threw down some barbecue, and 50 people showed up. Each year, more and more people came to Franni's back yard for the blues and roots festival. By the time of the sixth-annual soiree, a thousand people crammed their way into the back yard. The next year, the Frannipalooza Music Festival, as it came to be called, moved to a larger venue.

But Snyder Park, the place of choice, also became a bit too small when 3800 people came in 2000. A move to Outdoor World in Dania Beach last year proved disastrous when the crowd got drenched beneath buckets of rain. Hopefully, Mother Nature will be a bit more into the blues this year.

Among the bands playing Frannipalooza is the Groove Thangs. The Groove Thangs' combination of funk, soul, and rock left its mark on the area a decade or so ago, allowing the band to tour as far away as Indonesia, and giving the group's saxophonist, James Watkins, a gig with the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. In a rare reunion, the members of the Groove Thangs still around these parts will get together to offer the audience a dose of local-band nostalgia.

While the Groove Thangs play at the all-day party Sunday at the Harbor Grille in Dania Beach, a kickoff party held at the same venue two days before features music by Magic Red & the Voodoo Tribe and Ernie Southern & the Deltaholics. And in the day between, if your yen for blues has yet to be satiated, the festival continues at One Night Stan's in Hollywood. Tinsley Ellis headlines a bill of still more blues and roots. And if, after Sunday, you still haven't had enough, then goddamn, you got the blues.

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Dan Sweeney
Contact: Dan Sweeney

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