Once again, the Tampa Bay Blues Festival is playing a little loosey-goosey with the word "blues," packing plenty of funk and soul into this year's lineup — and that's not a bad thing. Sure, blues greats Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland and Coco Montoya lead Friday's lineup, but Saturday brings the smooth and soulful Michael McDonald and the Blind Boys of Alabama, while Sunday features N'awlins royalty Irma Thomas and British soulman James Hunter. It's a spicy sonic gumbo that should go well with all the grub in St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park. The fest is $40-$50 per day ($175-$200 VIP), $110 for the weekend ($375 VIP). For a tighter, more clublike experience, check out one of the annual after-shows at the Palladium, with Montoya, Selwyn Birchwood and Matt Schofield taking the stage on Friday, and Nikki Hill, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers and Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials on Saturday. Tickets to both after shows are $20. tampabaybluesfest.com.
Tampa Bay Blues Festival brings Buddy Guy, Irma Thomas
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