Ella Jet Future Soul FMF 2018

FMF 2018 Best Discoveries

The Most Impressive New Bands at Florida Music Festival

FMF 2018 featured more than 100 talented artists showcasing their talent across Downtown Orlando last weekend. There was a copious supply of great, creative music, but here are seven bands that dominated our attention.

One caveat: We attended Thursday and Friday sessions but missed all of the excellent music on Saturday.  There’s a very good chance Run Raquel, Yardij, Felicity or Kasson could be on this list….

(Check out our early thoughts on the 2018 Florida Music Festival HERE)

Here they are, 7 bands who rocked, and who leveraged their brief 30 minute showcases to show off their vast potential. They are listed in the order I saw them:

Jordan Esker & The Hundred Percent
Jordan Esker FMF 2018
Jordan Esker playing a second, solo set at Ferg’s Depot. Photo: Jackie Creedon

This quartet from St. Pete delivered a sweet, soulful sound with clear blues influences.  Jordan Esker is a damn good guitarist and vocalist, but the entire band is strong.  I enjoyed Matt Raspo’s prominently featured keyboard work, which adds a cool creative flair to their distinctive vibe.

We also caught Esker solo at Ferg’s Depot on Friday, and he sounded excellent in that subdued setting, as well.

The band is on the cusp of releasing their first collective album, with Fail To Learn scheduled for release on May 25th.

Bone Magic

Bone Magic at FMF 2018

They are a brand spanking new band out of Orlando, and the fact that they played the Main Stage on Wall Street is a testament to how quickly their popularity is growing.

The music is reggae-infused rock that had everyone moving.  These guys would look perfect on a bill with Less Than Jake and Pepper.  Good stuff with a very marketable sound.

Shout out to their merch team, as we saw more Bone Magic T-shirts throughout FMF 2018 than any other band.

Ella Jet & Future Soul

Across the board, this band was the most talented young act we saw during the Florida Music Festival.  Ella Jet, the band’s namesake boasts a distinctive voice, but her band mates were just as impressive.  Kevin Mendel on Guitar was fantastic and truly shined throughout the set.  Ella Jet and Future Soul at FMF 2018

They characterize their music as progressive, neo-soul.  That works for me, as the music oozed a sweet soul vibe and boasted  pristine instrumentation.

I’ll be interested to watch their growth, as they become more comfortable on the big stage.  Lots of potential…

Carly Jo Jackson

One of the artists we were already quite familiar with, as we interviewed her at last year’s Florida Music Festival (Carly Jo Jackson interview), but she appears again this year, because she has stepped it up with her live show. Carly Jo Jackson at FMF 2014

Jackson is a dynamic performer who drips with charisma, and is quite comfortable fronting her band.

She has a powerful, gritty voice and continues to grow as a performer. This year was the most rocking set she has offered up at an FMF, and the harder, more aggressive sound fits her perfectly.  Loved the sound, and loved watching her fly around the stage.  There are a lot of directions she can take her talent and I am looking forward to seeing where the journey takes her.

The Getbye

Fun… absolute fun!

The Getbye FMF 2018

First of all, I have no idea how I have not stumbled across these unique gypsy rockers earlier in my years covering the Orlando rock scene.  Their sound is creative as hell and they deliver quite the entertaining show.

For a glimpse into what this trio brings to the stage, the drummer plays accordion and trumpet too, sometimes simultaneously. Combined with another percussion player and talented guitarist, they deliver a sound and vibe that’s pretty damn unique and equally addictive.

Milk Carton Superstars
Milk Carton Superstars FMF 2018
Jim Myers of Milk Carton Superstars. Photo: Jackie Creedon

These three gents are a little bit more experienced than most of the unsigned acts at FMF.  They’e been playing together for a decade and have already released quite a bit of catchy, quirky rock.

Led by drummer, vocalist Jim Myers they dish out some sweet, fast-paced rock that hearkens back to memories of early Kinks and The Clash.


Saved the best for last.  My Reverist experience started as I grabbed some grub at an industry party and watched some dude walk up to the mic with an MP3 player and a ukulele.  That dude was Omar Qazi, front man of Reverist, and his music was as tasty as anything I had experienced at FMF.

A few hour later, Qazi was onstage with drummer Steve Addington and touring bassist Daniel Pacchioni impressing the large Wall St. crowd.  I’m a guitar rock guy… this band had no guitar… no problem…

Their infectious sound features catchy hooks and emotive lyrics and it is as appealing as hell.  This stuff belongs on the radio already, and the band has a bright future.
Reversit FMF 2018

RARA’s Farm is a rock music blog keenly focused on sharing killer rock music news to the rock music fans who visit our site. Make sure you Like / Follow Us below to keep in the loop on new music worth a listen, or just to be nice to us.

Rock On!

Share your thoughts, we'd love to hear...