Q&A With Lauris Vidal, Founder of the Citrus Circuit Tour

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A number of rootsy rock bands from throughout Florida have banded together to carpool through the state, dubbing their rolling musical caravan the Citrus Circuit tour. It lands tonight in Miami at Tobacco Road, and Saturday at Propaganda; click here to read more about it.

New Times recently spoke with Lauris Vidal, the troubadour who got the whole thing together. Here are the Qs and the As.

New Times: What gave you the idea of the tour?

Lauris Vidal: The bottom line is Florida loves and supports its music. It's wild the way the rest of the U.S. doesn't really think of Florida as a rich musical state, but its heritage is unbelievably rich. As I was touring nationally, I kept looking back at Florida and realizing how amazing our bands and musical community really is. So I took a hiatus on national touring to focus solely on Florida for a while. In the course of doing that, I realized that Florida has enough great artists, music lovers, venues and people who come out to shows to support its original artists full time.
With my friends, we set up a few test run tours with very hardworking, high quality artists like Thomas Wynn & the Believers (Orlando) and The Takers (Gainesville). We realized that together, we can beat the drums much louder and raise awareness of this great music state to the national status that it deserves.

How'd you come up with the name?

Pete Stein from the Lake Worth based band Truckstop Coffee is a master creative brainstormer. I sent out an e-mail to all of the bands asking "what do we call this thing?" and Pete responded with 5 out of 5 home runs. It was amazing. We wanted the name to have longevity, a timeless, classic quality and it had to identify the tour as absolutely, definitively embodying the heart and soul of our state. The Citrus Circuit Tour is all that, and has so much potential for creative marketing imagery.

As far as you know, has anything like this been done before?

The spirit for the tour has been around as long as rock 'n' roll. I mean, looking back to the soul of rock 'n' roll, you have all the State Fair tours, the Festival Express, [and] the "Playtone Galaxy of Stars," where you get all of the bands together on one tour. People were serious about rock 'n' roll.  What is unique about this tour is we're trying to establish a strong point of connection specifically for Florida Music -- this is for Florida music lovers to connect with Florida musicians. 

How'd you choose the bands?

For this round, it was me and Devon Stuart of The Takers who chose the other two bands that we have played with and believe in. The criteria to be a featured artist on a Citrus Circuit Tour is you have to be 100% Florida-based, influenced, blood, sweat, tears; and you must be completely invested in playing music. 

What is extremely unique and appropriate for this first tour is how my family and Devon's family go back many generations to Florida roots. I know a few of the other band's member are the same. Mine goes back pre Civil War. 
 

Do you plan on making this an annual affair?

Our goal for the Citrus Circuit Tour is for it to go non-stop, year long with different bands, different genres, reflecting the amazing diversity of artists that are here in Florida. Our hope and vision for it is for the Tour to grow into a regional, national and international event. 

Without sounding too megalomaniacal, I really think the vision behind it is to encourage Florida to be almost like what countries like Canada, Sweden, and other European nations have done -- where they care enough about their nation's identity as well as their place in the art world that they support their artists by (amongst other ways) financially backing them. Our art is a huge part of our identity, we intrinsically need it, [and] it should be supported as such.

What can attendees expect?

Aw man, this one's gonna be good. I couldn't be more excited. There won't be a weak set in the night. Plan to get there early and stay late. Every band is heart and soul excellent performers. Let's see, you have two bands with lap steels, two with pedal steels, violins, upright basses, acoustic guitars, cranked electric guitars with Marshall stacks, mandolins, ukuleles, banjos. Based on [instruments] alone, you will see a world of music in one night.  Team this up with some seriously legitimate songwriting and musicianship and this tour should be quite overwhelming.

The Citrus Circuit Tour, with the Takers, Truckstop Coffee, Have Gun Will Travel, and Lauris Vidal. 8 p.m. Thursday, June 25, at Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave., Miami. Admission is $8. Age 21 and up. Call 305-374-1198, or visit tobacco-road.com.

Also, 9 p.m. Friday, June 26, at Propaganda, 6 S. J St., Lake Worth. Tickets cost $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Age 21 and up. Call 561-547-7273, or visit propagandalw.com.


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