The Venice Blues Festival

Feb 28, 2024 | Blues Concert, Suncoast Blues News

The Venice Blues Festival returns March 22nd to the Venice Airport Festival Grounds for two days of blues-in and groove-in! The festival will have two stages and begins on Friday March 22nd at 4PM.

Highlighting this festival is the only area show for the legendary Average White Band!

But before we get to the headliners and their final tour, the festival begins with a solid lineup that shows the eclectic nature of this fest.

Local stars Steve Arvey & Biscuit Miller are coming together and part of the fun of this show will be the creativity. On their own these artists present entertaining shows but having witnessed a few of their infrequent collaborations you never know what is going to come next. These veteran Chicago Blues artists will bring this genre the stage.

Out of The Blue SRQ is a collaborative band that brings a “festival vibe” to the stage and is sure to have you up and dancing. Their music is infused with rhythm, and the artists individuality lends depth to their sound.

Concluding Friday’s show is Steeln’ Peaches. Billed as a “Rock n Roll Revue of the Allman Brothers Band” this band is strong enough to have played large festivals at Gasparilla and Suwanee. And as many of us know, there is a tight connection between the music of the Allman Brothers and blues. The early Allman Brothers sound introduced more than one blues fan to the genre.

On Saturday March 23rd anticipation builds as we come together to celebrate with and bid farewell to AWB as their tour passes through Florida for the final time. But before we “Cut The Cake” we get to welcome newcomers to the stage; artists that are making a buzz in the blues world.

Leilani Kilgore is as Nashville-based blues-rock firebrand who in a “Guitar World” interview indicated that she “studied players like Freddie King, and I started to take guitar seriously.” Leilani’s music contains intense vocals and fearless guitar solos. An early arrival is recommended to ensure that you do not miss this emerging artist.

Vince Johnson and the Plantation All-Stars have long been a staple on Beale Street in Memphis, TN. Mixing Chicago soul and Memphis Blues, the band has been performing for over 30 years and is a part of Memphis music history. Seasoned musicians of the Memphis music scene back the band, and they combine with Vince to bring you the true sound of the Blues. You will feel like family by the time you leave.


Robert “Lefty Preacher” Sampson comes from a long line of musicians including his parents, sisters, brothers, and cousins. Robert has placed in the finals of the International Blues Challenge on four occasions. Robert has performed with  the likes of Shirley King and Bob Stroger. On Robert’s self-produced 2016 album, “The Jukebox Boogie” he performed all 16 instruments on the album! Robert is touring in support of his forthcoming new release “They Call Me Lefty Preacher.”

Aww yeah! JP Soars and the Red Hots bring their dynamic set of music to Venice. Regulars at festivals and large events world-wide, this band is one of the treasures of Florida and not-to-be-missed. JP and The Red Hots are past winners of the International Blues Challenge, with JP receiving the prestigious Albert King Best Blues Guitarist Award. JP is also a world-renown builder of guitars and his cigar-box guitars command, and deserve, a premium price. After seeing JP play one of his classic instruments, you may feel the spirit move you to take one home.

Making his much-anticipated debut to our part of Florida is Mathias Lattin. Up for nomination for a 2024 Blues Music Award here is your opportunity to see and hear why. Mathias also is a recipient of the International Blues Challenge and Best Guitarist award – an honor achieved at 20-years-old; possibly the youngest to win both the guitarist and International Blues Challenge. Mathias became prominent on the Houston blues scene at 12-years-old, with veteran John Del Toro Richardson taking a shine to his talents. The national blues scene became aware of Mathias through his time in the Keesha Pratt Band and the buzz they generated up-and-down Beale Street during the 2018 International Blues Challenge.


Average White Band (AWB) are recognized as one of the best soul and funk bands in the history of music. Their instrumental mega-hit ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ charted #1 on Billboard and sold over one million copies!

The band’s strength lay in their consistently accomplished songwriting, stretching across several gold selling albums and multi- grammy nominations for the legendary Atlantic Records. AWB took the influences of their R&B heroes – people like Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Donny Hathaway, and others – and developed their own ‘authentic’ sound which audiences worldwide embraced.

Additional chart-topping songs from AWB include ‘Cut The Cake’ and ‘Let’s Go ‘Round Again’. Featured in their recordings are AWBs versions of the hits ‘Love Won’t Let Me Wait’ and ‘Work To Do.’ The musical energy and trademark sound are remarkably true to the originals.

With constant revisitations and re-workings of AWB’s, and others’ classics in the mix, it is no surprise that the Average White Band is a multi-generational attraction. As AWB brings their 50-plus year career to a close, you will want to be with us at the Venice Blues Fest for the final celebration of their journey.

Tickets are recommended and are available at

Scott Morris