Get Ready To Boogie — Eighth Annual St. John Blues Festival Kicks Off Mar. 17

It’s March on St. John and that means only one thing. The blues will take over Love City this week culminating with a big concert in the Coral Bay ball field on Saturday night, March 20.

Starting on Wednesday, March 17, Steve and Helen Simon will host the Eighth Annual Johnny Walker St. John Blues Festival with performances scheduled across the island through Sunday, March 21.

Simon’s passion for the blues and his impeccable musical taste ensure that each festival is filled with world-class performers and this year is no different.

“I am really blessed when it comes to the blues because whenever I plan a concert I always focus on ‘who would I like to go see’ and I just make a list of my favorite performers of the day and call them up and book them,” said Simon. “It also makes it a lot easier for me as I book my concerts a year in advance so the entertainers I want to see are usually available with that much advance notice.”


This year’s blues festival lineup includes such acts as Deanna Bogart, The Ford Blues Band, JP Soars and the Red Hots, The Ty Curtis Band, Billy Gibson, EG Kight, Shakura S’Aida, JT Lauritsen and Washboard Jo.


The music ranges from Bogart, who rocks a boogie piano blues mixed with modern sounds, to the Norwegian JT Lauritsen, who will open the festival on March 17 at the Sun Dog Cafe at 8 p.m. At 9 p.m. that night The Beach Bar will feature Groove Thang.

The fun moves out to Coral Bay on Thursday night, when Island Blues will host Deb Callahan and Reverend Raven and The Chain Smoking Altar Boys will rock Aqua Bistro. Both shows start at 8 p.m.

Both Cruz Bay and Coral Bay will be filled with the blues on Friday, March 19, when Reverend Raven takes his show to The Beach Bar and Shipwreck Landing hosts the James Cobb Blues Band.

While gearing up for the big Saturday night concert in the Coral Bay ball field, Skinny Legs will feature the Skinny Legs Blues Revue starting at 3 p.m.

“St. John is going to rock Saturday night like it never rocked before,” said Simon. “I think that everyone is going to be blown away by the energy and the talent that is going to entertain us.”

“After last year’s amazing blues festival I decided that for 2010 I was going to double up on the amount of performers we would present and I can’t believe it’s actually about to happen,” said Simon. “The line-up almost gets me dizzy just thinking about it.”

The festival wraps up on Sunday, March 21, at The Beach Bar at 4  p.m. with surprise guests artists expected all night.
Simon has been throwing the biggest blues party on St. John for eight years now and it has become the most anticipated entertainment event on the island.

“When I started this adventure eight years ago I really had no idea how everyone would take to it and now it has become the single largest entertainment destination event in the Virgin Islands and everyone benefits from it,” said Simon.

The night is also a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of St. John which staffs the concession bar, Simon added.

Despite all the work, Simon has as much fun during the St. John Blues Festival as the crowd.

“I am very proud of St. John and it is truly an island wide effort to put this on each year and I am just thrilled to be the Blues Boss for a week on my beloved island,” he said.

Tickets for the March 20 concert, $25 in advance and $30 at the door, go on sale on March 17 at both Connections locations and Chelsea Drugs at The Marketplace and Red Hook. Five dollar safari taxi rides will be available all night long from Cruz bay to Coral Bay and back to Cruz Bay. Also a 1 a.m. ferry will run to Red Hook after the show from Cruz Bay to bring blues fans back to Rock City.

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