Winter Park: Tab Benoit concert – Know what you’re losing before it’s gone |

Winter Park: Tab Benoit concert – Know what you’re losing before it’s gone

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Moe’s will be smokin’ once again as the Grand County Blues Society welcomes back Tab Benoit for a special Voice of the Wetlands benefit concert tonight. The community also has a chance to meet the Southern gentleman early that day during a golf tournament, featuring a performance by guitarist Gary Key.

Benoit, a long-time friend of Grand County who jokes about feeling like a local, has a “pretty special history up here,” points out John Catt, founding member of the GCBS.

“He is one of the most popular musicians we bring up here,” Catt said. “He’s the only

one who’s sold out at every show.”

The good-hearted, award-winning guitarist and singer had already connected with and played for the GCBS, which was helping spread the word about coastal erosion even before Hurricane Katrina hit. And Benoit, whose “other home” is in Louisiana, had formed “Voice of the Wetlands” to help protect the fragile environment specifically in the southwest coastal portions before the destructive hurricane hit his home state.

Catt asked what the GCBS could do to help Benoit’s efforts and the musician expressed hopes of getting people from other states to care. The two felt that different states pulling together was how the Everglades got restored by the Federal government.

“We’re not talkin’ about saving a park (like the Everglades),” Catt said. “This is the third largest wetlands on the Earth.”

The ecosystem in jeopardy serve as the biggest seafood producer to the country, as a key port off the Mississippi, “not to mention the birthplace of jazz and Zydeco music, along with Cajun and Creole ways of life,” Catt said. “It’s important that people know what they are losing before they just say they can’t help.”

Benoit’s visit includes a round or two out at the Grand Elk Golf Club, which is hosting the Tab Benoit Golf Classic earlier in the day of the concert. GCBS and the Voice organization took a swing at raising funds for their mutual mission with the tournament four years ago and the four-person shotgun scramble event (at 8 a.m.) has become popular with residents and guests.

Second-year project coordinator Megan Ledin has reported people coming up from Florida, Texas, Boston, Las Vegas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas. The roster is already more than halfway full, she said.

Entry includes top-notch goodie bags and a morning of golf, followed by barbecue and picnicking, music by local “Walking Jukebox” Gary Key, auction opportunities and a ticket to see Benoit perform later that evening. Auction highlights include a signed guitar from Benoit and jewelry created from guitar strings Benoit strummed during the Winter Park Jazz Fest in 2007. Those interested in donating an auction item are encouraged to call Ledin.

The Democratic Convention and Gala, where Benoit and 30 other Louisiana musicians are playing Sunday, is sold out, and the GCBS has reported that tickets for the tournament and Benoit’s concert on the intimate stage at Smokin’ Moe’s are going fast. “It’s the coolest thing that anyone does in Colorado,” Catt says; and on that note he, the Blues Society and Benoit invite the public to come on out, make a statement for the wetlands, enjoy the greens for a friendly challenge, and “let folks in the bayou hear about it.” Tickets are available at Radio Shack, Smokin’ Moe’s and at

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