Artist Spotlight: Randall Crawford Band

Kicking off the rock ‘n’ roll festivities on Saturday November 5 is the Randall Crawford Band! Front man Randall Crawford cut his chops playing in Central Florida’s bars, clubs, and pretty much anyone else who would listen. Randall started playing guitar as a child, when his dad first taught him a few basic chords. Since those early days, Randall’s passion for music has never wavered. While other kids were off paying ball and chasing girls, his focus on his guitar remained steadfast.

That dedication is paying off and now Randall is rocking stages with his awesome band, which he calls the greatest band he’s ever put together. On Saturday the Randall Crawford Band will be taking the Founders’ Day Festival stage first to get the crowd amped up for our headliner Big & Rich, as well as country legend T.G. Sheppard and the Southern Brotherz Band.

Want to keep it country after the big fireworks show on Saturday night? The Randall Crawford Band will be hosting the after party at Frank’s Place in Ocoee. It’s going to be a busy night for the Band and we hope you can all joint them!


Sponsor: City Center West Orange

Here’s something we’re really excited about: the upcoming City Center! Just a little look at the plans will make it pretty clear why. At the heart of Central Florida, the new City Center would be mere minutes from Disney World, making it an ideal location for tourists and Florida residents alike!

The City Center will be anything but dull. In fact, it’ll have everything you could possibly need, including a daycare, movie theater, hotel, a big box retailer, and a Walgreens, in addition to some great restaurants. There’s also plenty of space for condominiums – up to 500! How amazing would it be to exit your apartment and be within walking distance of all these great places? Check out the video below, and we know you’ll come to love the City Center as much as we do.

Artist Spotlight: Spayed Koolie

Like your favorite song coming on the jukebox, or a favorite pair of jeans that fit just right, local heroes Spayed Koolie are returning to the Founders’ Day Festival stage Friday November 4 at 7:30pm!

Taking their name from ‘40s era pioneer of  “Western swing” and “spaghetti westerns” Spade Cooley, the band plays a powerful blend of country and rock with themes of redemption, love, anger, and bliss driving the songs. Like the man behind the band’s namesake, band founder David Dorr has seen his share of personal demons and he uses those experiences to inject Spayed Koolie’s music with honesty and classic country muscle.

With Christopher Queen on bass, Jeremy Katalenic on drums, Tommy Calon on guitar, Chris Davis on keyboard, and Neal “Quickdraw” Philips on Violin, Dorr’s lyrics are elevated with outstanding musicianship.

See Spayed Koolie on Friday November 4, right before headliners Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo!

Artist Spotlight: Rock Town

Taking the Founders’ Day stage Friday night is none other than Central Florida’s #1 party rock cover band: Rock Town! This high-energy trio is the house band at the Beach Club at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando and have rocked the stage with the likes of Cindy Lauper, Duran Duran, Styx, Joan Jett, and loads of other legendary acts. Friday November 4, they’ll be bringing their supercharged covers of rock, pop, and country to the festival, warming up the stage for headliners Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo!

Rock Town features vocalist/guitarist Greg Pontoni, bassist Rick Dotchin, and drummer Ian Budha. Together this powerhouse trio has performed events at Disney World, Universal Studios, Wyndham Resorts, and other large venues. To say Rock Town knows how to get a crowd fired up is to put it lightly.

They will be setting the bar for Friday night, followed up by local group (and Founders’ Day favorite) Spayed Koolie and Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. Now that’s a first night lineup for the history books!


Sponsor: Bud Light

Is there a better pairing than the legendary concerts of the Ocoee Founders’ Day Festival and a cold can of Bud Light? If there is, we don’t think we want to know about it. For years now, the mighty Bud Light has been a gracious sponsor of Founders’ Day and we’re honored to have them back for our 2016 edition.

As a performance sponsor, Bud Light helps Ocoee get the big names it always does, just like this year’s headliners Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo on the first night, and Big & Rich on the second. Yeah, this year is going to be one for the history books!

And like we said, nothing goes better with the Founders’ Day concerts than Bud Light. You wait for this festival all year, so why not enjoy it with the best selling beer in the America? Remember to drink (and rock out) responsibly and we’ll see you at the fest!


T.G. Sheppard Artist Spotlight

We’ve had some absolute legends grace the Founders’ Festival stage over the years, from Travis Tritt to 38 Special. This year, country legend T.G. Sheppard joins the ranks!

Sheppard has had a long, storied career that began in Humboldt, Tennessee. Young Sheppard caught the music bug early and travelled to Memphis when he was only 15-years-old. He played in various bands until finally releasing his first album, “High School Days,” in 1966. From there, he cut his chops opening for major acts like The Animals and even the Beach Boys!

Sheppard’s stardom began to really shine in the 1970s and he took to the road in a tour bus gifted to him by his personal friend Elvis Presley, who ardently supported Sheppard’s career. He signed with Warner Bros. and scored 14 consecutive number one songs, including the country classics “Only One You,” “Party Time,” and “War Is Hell (On The Homefront).”

In the 1980s, Sheppard continued dominating the country charts with songs like “Fooled Around and Fell In Love,” Strong Heart,” and “One for the Money.” He continued touring extensively in the 1990s and even opened his own theater in the Smokey Mountains!

24 albums, 43 singles, and countless tour dates later, Sheppard takes the Founders’ Day stage on Saturday, November 5th!

Artist Spotlight: Big & Rich

Since their smash single “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” took the country world by storm in 2004, Big & Rich have been tearing up stages around the world with their eclectic brand of country and larger than life personalities. On November 5, they’re set to bring the party to the Ocoee Founders’ Day Festival stage. You better be ready to “Party Like Cowboyz” and “Get Your Game On” once that sun goes down!

Before coming together to form one of country music’s greatest powerhouses, Big Kenny and John Rich had long, storied careers trying to make it in the music business. The stars finally aligned at a Nashville nightclub in 2001 and Big & Rich was born.

Channeling the off-kilter and boundary-pushing side of country music, their debut album “Horse of a Different Color” propelled them into the spotlight and it’s been a party ever since.

Five studio albums and several award nominations and wins later, Big and Rich are galloping into Ocoee for Founders’ Day’s closing night festivities. Be sure to get there early because the Hillbilly Jedis put on one wild concert!

Artist Spotlight – Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo

Trailblazers. Rule breakers. Bonafide living legends. All of these things describe our Friday night headliners Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. They will be taking the Founders’ Day stage by storm on November 4, playing classics from their decades long careers. This is something to truly get excited about!

Benatar is a 4-time Grammy winner who’s best known for her unforgettable smash hit singles “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Love Is a Battlefield,” “We Belong,” and “Invincible.” Back in the heyday of MTV (when they actually played music videos), Benatar was on heavy rotation and helped to pave the way for female rock stars around the world.

Neil “Spyder” Giraldo has been performing his innovative compositions for 4 decades now. His work in the studio and with a guitar helped shape the signature Benatar sound. His tremendous catalogue includes over 100 songs written, produced, arranged, and recorded for Benatar, as well as Grammy-nominated singles for the likes of Rick Springfield, Kenny Loggins, The Del Lords, Beth Hart, and way too many to list here.

Oh, did I mention their married? Talk about a power couple! They met in 1979 in a rehearsal space. It was serendipity from the start!

Do not miss Benatar and Giraldo when they blow the roof off of the Ocoee Founders’ Day Festival as the headliners on Friday, November 4. See you there!

Artist Spotlight: Jon Pardi

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This All-American Country artist is rocking stages across the U.S., and you can find him here next, performing at the 22nd Annual Ocoee Founders’ Day Festival! Jon Pardi is a Capital Records Artist who is known for his high-energy approach to the country scene. The California native is a singer-songwriter who has toured with fellow country stars such as Dierks Bentley and Alan Jackson.

Pardi’s debut album “Write You A Song,” produced a collection of tracks that leaves listeners with a positive and rowdy vibe, sure to carry over to his live stage show. His debut single “Missin’ You Crazy,” hit the charts in 2012 and made a solid landing at #29 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs List. His follow-up singles “Up All Night” and “What I Can’t Put Down,” are sure to have you on your feet, singing along.

You can catch Jon Pardi jamming out on Saturday, November 14th!

See y’all there!

*photo credit: Jon Pardi

Artist Spotlight: Gary Allan



Gary Allan has been on the country music scene for nearly two decades, with a career many dream of. After turning down his first record label signing to finish his education, Allen managed to impress the country music industry again when he later signed with Decca Records.

His 1996 debut album, “Used Heart For Sale” was a knockout from the get-go, as it went gold-certified. Allan has produced nine studio albums and one greatest hits album. Some of his greatest hits include four records that rocketed to the number spot on the Billboard Hot Country chart, they include: “Man To Man,” “Tough Little Boys,” “Nothing On But the Radio,” and “Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain).”

We can’t wait for Gary Allan light up the Ocoee Founders’ Day Festival stage on Saturday, November 14!

See y’all there!

*photo credit: Gary Allan


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