Here are the winner, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers of the 2014 Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest: (39 entries)
Here’s a look back at the top 3 winners of the 2014 Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest along with video clips of them performing their winning song on the main stage at the 2014 festival.
The 2014 first place winner was Jane Fallon from Brookline, NH. Her song entitled “Before the Fire (Rosewood)” captures the emotional story and resulting fear from the 1923 Rosewood tragedy in North Central Florida. Jane has been a finalist in several songwriting competitions such as SolarFest , the Ossipee Music Festival and the prestigious Rose Garden Coffeehouse Competition. Her songs have placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Neuse River MusicFest competition and the West Coast Songwriters Competition.
The 2014 second place finisher Larry Mangum is from Jacksonville. His song entitled “Florida” describes the beauty of the Sunshine State and why he’s proud to call it home. Mangum has given nearly 3000 performances over 4 decades as a folk, rock, country and Americana artist. He’s released 8 albums of original music and 2 live albums since 1980. In 2006 he won third place in the Will Mclean Song contest with his tribute to Gamble Rogers, “The Last Troubadour.” He is also host and co-founder of “The Songwriters’ Circle” in Jacksonville, a monthly program featuring many of the best regional and national touring acts.
The 2014 third place finisher was Ray Sealey from Harrington, QC. His song “Kissimmee Prairie Dream” gives the flavor of Central Florida’s early years in the Kissimmee area. Ray was born in England and received a degree in English Literature after emigrating to Canada. He was involved in folk music in his early years but then turned to classical guitar. He eventually taught music at the Universities of Western Ontario and Ottawa. He also worked in radio at the CBC and later in arts management being involved in music festivals, summer music centers and orchestras. Now, later in life, he has returned to those early folk roots and spends summer in the Laurentian Mountains north of Montreal and winter in Florida.
2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the Will McLean Folk Festival which ran from Friday, March 7th thru Sunday, March 9th. The 2014 festival honored Jan Glidewell, a longtime columnist for the Tampa Bay Times who died in 2013 from cancer. Glidewell was an avid supporter of the festival. The 26th year for the 3-day festival gets underway at the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Dade City on March 13th, 2015. The winner and 2nd and 3rd place finishers of this year’s song contest will be featured on Saturday, March 14th.
The Will McLean festival features four stages, including a young performers stage, a variety of music workshops, arts and crafts, food and more. McLean, known as the “Black Hat Troubadour,” is the first folk artist inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. In 2014 one of the newest folk musicians inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, Frank Thomas, also performed at the Will McLean Music Festival. In the clip below recorded on the Cypress Stage at last year’s festival you’ll see Frank singing one of his most popular songs, “Cracker Cowman.”
Frank Thomas was accompanied by members of the band Roadside Revue featuring Dawn DeWitt on bass, Bari Litschauer on banjo, Ron Litschauer on guitar and Stan Geberer on harmonica.