Tampa Bay Blues Festival is a yearly blues music event that takes place in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is held at Vinoy Park, a waterfront venue in the city's downtown area. Festival-goers are treated to world-class music in a gorgeous setting with beautiful palm trees, white sand, and clear water.
The festival was started in 1995. Since its inception, it has grown into one of the most popular Blues music events in the world. Some of the proceeds from it go towards funding various programs run by local charities.
The lineup features legends of the blues music genre as well as talented upcoming musicians. Samantha Fish, Jonny Lang, Buddy Guy, Toronzo Cannon, Brandon Santini, Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers, Michael McDonald, Los Lonely Boys, Tower of Power, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Walter Trout, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds are some of the artists who have performed at Tampa Bay Blues Fest in the past.
Festivities take place over three days. In addition to the concerts, there is a kickoff party and several after-show events. These are great ways to meet other fans of the music genre and keep the fun going beyond the festival.
Tampa Bay Blues Fest tickets can be purchased on the website in advance. Prices tend to go up closer to the dates of the event. Patrons can choose between different options like single-day and three-day General Admission or VIP passes. In recent years, prices have ranged from $40 (Advanced Sunday General Admission Pass) to about $500 (Advanced three-day VIP Pass).
VIP passes will give guests access to perks like complimentary food and drinks, an exclusive VIP tent, and special viewing areas. Tickets for the Kick-Off Party can also be purchased on the website.
The drive from Tampa to St. Petersburg might take you less than 30 minutes. The fastest way to get there is usually by getting on I-275, but notice that this brings you over Old Tampa Bay. The festival takes place at Vinoy Park near Tampa Bay. There will be signs to guide you there once you get closer to the venue. Florida's 511 system can keep you updated on local road and weather conditions.
Festival organizers work with various garages in the city to offer affordable parking options to guests. Paid parking is available for cars at these garages. Festival shuttles will ferry patrons from these sites to the venue. A limited number of metered street parking spots will also be available. Guests with larger camping set-ups may want to stay parked at the campground and consider public transportation around St. Petersburg.
The downtown area is well connected by public transportation. You can get to the venue by hopping on the Downtown Looper Trolley, which has a stop close to the park. Another option is to take one of the local buses operated by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA). Festival shuttles services will be available on all three days of the event.
Tampa Bay Blues Fest does not offer onsite camping options. St. Petersburg is a popular RV destination thanks to its proximity to Tampa Bay. So visitors will find a number of campsites and RV parks to choose from for every budget.
If you love the beach and all the activities that come with it, you're in luck. Many of the RV parks in the area offer waterfront access. St. Petersburg / Madeira Beach KOA is a great option that is located on Long Bayou. The sites come with full hookups and are accessible with a large RV.
Bicycles, skateboards, Segways, ATVs and other vehicles will not be allowed on the festival grounds. Patrons with mobility disabilities can get around using manual or motorized wheelchairs. They can enter the site through the vendor/volunteer entrance, which is ADA accessible. Large areas of the venue are grass-covered and may become difficult to navigate by wheelchair if it rains.
Tampa Bay Blues Fest has a casual and relaxed vibe. It's all about being comfortable and letting the music take center stage. Lightweight summer attire is ideal for the Florida weather. Beat the humidity by opting for natural, breathable fabrics. You may want to throw on a light jacket in case it gets chilly at night.
Take a small bag with your daily essentials. Shade canopies and umbrellas can be carried in, but these must be used only in designated areas at the rear end of the site. If you plan on buying your tickets at the gate, you'll need to carry cash. Cards will not be accepted.
The venue can be pretty crowded, so stay close to your group. Carry a portable charger to keep your cell phone charged. Visitors can get dehydrated quickly in the humid Florida weather, so drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Water bottles will be available for sale in the food and drinks area.
The area is known for its incredible seafood. Hungry music fans might enjoy picking up something fresh to cook at a campsite near the beach. End your day with some delicious grilled fish or a bowl of spicy chili. Be sure to use a ring or container for your campfire and clean up before you leave. If open fires are not allowed at your campsite, you can cook using a portable grill or the stove in your RV.
Downtown St. Petersburg is filled with great restaurants, cafes, and clubs. You'll find tasty food at every corner, and you won't have to travel far from the festival site to find it. Visitors can feast on delicious Cuban sandwiches, smoked fish, and fresh oysters. The region offers plenty of plant-based dishes for vegans and vegetarians, as well.
The food available at the venue will be a true reflection of the city's diverse culinary scene. Whether you're in the mood for southern-style barbecue or a grab-and-go sandwich, you'll find it here. A range of desserts and drinks will be available, as well. Many of the vendors only accept cash, so it's a good idea to carry some paper bills.
Patrons will be asked to go through security at the gate, and all bags will be screened upon entry to the Tampa Bay Blues Festival. Anything unauthorized will be confiscated before entry. Guests who need to take in necessary items like prescription medications may need to declare them with security personnel at the entrance.
Florida has excellent weather all year round, but it is particularly pleasant in spring. The days are warm, with temperatures ranging in the low 80s. Before driving to the area, check if Pinellas County authorities have issued any weather or road alerts. The festival's social media pages will be updated with relevant safety information regularly, as well.
Festival patrons can receive basic medical assistance at the first aid center onsite. It will be staffed with trained medical professionals. Public restrooms will be situated at the rear end of the festival grounds, towards the seawall. Pharmacy and emergency care centers sit under two miles from Vinoy Park.