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I went to the Sunshine Blues Fest in St. Pete yesterday and have to say I enjoyed it very much. It was extremely well run if a little expensive. OK is was more than a little… more on that in a second.

This festival was organized by Live Nation the big “entertainment company.” It was formed back in 2011 when Ticketmaster and the earlier version of Live Nation merged. They have a division that promotes and produces concerts. This even was one of their concerts.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about this division…

Annually, Live Nation promotes or produces over 22,000 events, including music concerts, with total attendance exceeding 50 million—more than the NBA, NFL, and NHL combined. As of September 30, 2005, Live Nation owned or operated 117 venues, consisting of 75 US and 42 international venues. These venues include 39 amphitheatres, 58 theatres, 14 clubs, 4 arenas and 2 festival sites. In addition, through equity, booking or similar arrangements Live Nation has the right to book events at 33 additional venues.

So this Festival was held at 3 locations over the January 18th to January 20th weekend. On Friday the 18th it was held in Fort Myers Florida, on Saturday the 19th it was in Boca Raton, Florida, and on the 20th it was in St. Petersburg Florida. All acts were the same at all 3 shows.

For the St. Pete show the weather was excellent (low 70’s and partly sunny) and the venue, Vinoy Park is a beautiful location, right on the water on Tampa Bay. I’ve seen many shows there and that’s the location for the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in April this year, an even bigger show. When night fell, it was even nicer, so the weather itself, was a highlight of the day too.

The St. Pete show seemed to be well attended in spite of the $63 ticket price (with fees). I don’t know final numbers but will add here if I see them.

There was a relatively limited number of vendors at the show and prices were pretty high for food. Sandwiches averaged $8.00 and beers were about the same for a 12oz glass. Other food was between $10 and $14. They did offer a free “sample” of beer as part of the ticket price. Must have been about a 4oz glass.

The Acts

The lineup for all 3 locations included…

  • Tedeschi Trucks Band
  • Dr. John
  • Walter Trout
  • Sonny Landreth
  • Joe Louis Walker
  • Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band
  • Matt Schofield
  • The Wood Brothers
  • Big Sam’s Funky Nation
  • Sean Chambers
  • Bobby Lee Rodgers

There were 2 stages setup and there was no delay at all between acts. The sound on the small stage wasn’t as good but it still wasn’t bad.

The smaller stage acts included…

  • Joe Louis Walker
  • Matt Schofield
  • The Wood Brothers
  • Big Sam’s Funky Nation
  • Sean Chambers
  • Bobby Lee Rodgers

And even though this was the 2nd tier of acts some of them were highlights of the show. All and all the music, including these acts were excellent. For myself, I saw some new acts I’d never heard before including Matt Schofield, The Wood Brothers, and Big Sam’s Funky Nation. All of them were excellent.

The sound was excellent too, which can be a “showstopper” for me. And I didn’t see too many acts look disappointed in what they heard on stage. I do suppose that after 3 shows in 3 nights, they should have had their act together by Sunday.

Of course, the highlight of the show was The Tedeschi Trucks Band. This is one of the best bands in the land at the moment, and the 11 piece band did not disappoint. I’ve included the video of their encore here. I saw them about a year ago and that show was one of the best I’ve seen in many, many years.

All and all, I have to say I enjoyed the show in spite of the high prices. The music and the day won me over.

I’ll be posting videos for all of my favorite acts in coming days, so come on back. For now here’s the encore that Tedeschi Trucks played which included some surprised including George Harrison’s Isn’t It A Pity, and Sly and The Family Stone’s Sing A Simple Song and I Want To Take You Higher.

Enjoy!

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