Blues legend Buddy Guy has been removed from the Clearwater Jazz Holiday’s lineup this weekend. However, no announcement or an offer of refunds was issued on the event’s website for the $51.75-$308 tickets shelled out for lawn and premium seats for Saturday’s lineup.
Steve Weinberger, CEO of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation, said that even though Guy, 87, had canceled a number of shows for health reasons in September, “we fully expected this to be a go.” He said they didn’t get notice of the cancellation until Tuesday and sent out emails to all ticket holders notifying them.
No emails or social media announcements were sent out Tuesday from Ruth Eckerd Hall officials or Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation, which manages the festival. The official Clearwater Jazz Holiday website quietly changed its lineup for Saturday to remove Guy. It added a new opening act of the blues band Roosevelt Collier & Friends and bumped each of the other bands in the night’s lineup back a spot.
Weinberger said ticket holders were told in the email that refunds were not offered, but “as a courtesy,” ticket holders unhappy with the change could trade them in for a comparable seat on any other day of the four-day festival, which starts Thursday.
As recently as last Wednesday, Ruth Eckerd Hall ran a four-page ad in the Tampa Bay Times listing Guy in the lineup.
But as far back as Sept. 2, Guy canceled his show at the Silver Star Convention Center in Mississippi. On Sept. 23, his team issued a statement that said that “due to a standard medical issue, Buddy has been advised by his team to cancel his performance at Crossroads Guitar Festival.” The festival, founded by Eric Clapton, was held Sept. 23-24 in Los Angeles. Several other of Guy’s shows were canceled in September. His shows in St. Augustine and Clearwater remained on his official site as of Tuesday night, but St. Augustine had already announced earlier Tuesday that his show Friday is canceled.
On the Clearwater event’s website, the blues band Roosevelt Collier & Friends was added to the early slot of 5:45-7 p.m. Los Lobos was bumped from that spot to the 7:30-9 p.m. slot and the Gypsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes took Guy’s headliner spot at 9:30-11 p.m.
Clearwater Jazz Holiday is four days of jazz, pop and rock music featuring The Beach Boys (Oct. 19), Gladys Knight (Oct. 20) and Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Oct. 22). Tickets are $30.75-$51.75 for the lawn, $77-$108 for premium seats under cover and $308 for VIP tickets. Tickets for Saturday night’s lineup start at $51.75. The festival runs 4-10 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and 4-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at The Sound at Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. 727-791-7400. clearwaterjazz.com.
Weinberger said they held out hope that Guy would make it to Clearwater.
“I think his plan was to do the Florida run and they held off announcing it,” Weinberger said. “We are obviously disappointed and wish him a speedy recovery. But we still have a lot of great artists at this festival.”