First St. John Blues Fest pictures

World-class photographer Steve Simonsen had a hard-working weekend.  He attended both St. John Blues festival concerts, (Somebody has to do it!)

He uploaded about two dozen of images from the first night.


Click here to go to see a Slide Show of the photos.

Simonsen wrote on his Facebook page:

"Steve, Jeff and Helen Simon pull off another fantastic evening of blues under a near full moon in the Coral Bay field. The evening was kicked off by performances of Grady Champion followed by the powerhouse Candye Kane And ended up with unstoppable footstomping blues by Albert Cummings."

St. John Blues Festival begins Wednesday

Fest The annual St. John Blues Festival kicks off Wednesday night, with five days and nights of topflight performers offering blues, soul and maybe even some reggae.

This is the ninth year Steve Simon has organized the event.  He is a longtime island resident with a huge talent and love for music.  It's Simon who also, for years, hosted Sunday afternoon jam sessions at the Beach Bar.

This year's edition of the Blues Festival, sponsored by Johnnie Walker, is bigger than ever with not just one, but TWO, big concerts at the Coral Bay ball field, Friday and Saturday nights.  (Ticket information is here.)

Friday night's lineup includes Grady Champion, Candye Kane, and Albert Cummings.  Saturday's presents Moreland & Arbuckle, Reba Russell, Curtis Salgado (pictured) and The Big Band.

"All of the acts are off the charts.  These are the best voices in the blues," he added.  Simon especially looks forward to Salgado's set. "Wait until you see the horn section and the lady backup singers, too.  They are just killer!," Simon said. "I always book my heroes (for these concerts," Simon told the St. John Sun Times. 

But before the big shows on the weekend, four of the island's restaurants – in Coral Bay and Cruz Bay – will be hosting many blues musicians.  Here's the lineup for those no cost events:
Wednesday, Opening Party  

Sun Dog Cafe, 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm
Starring: Mitch Woods & The Rocket 88's

The Beach Bar, 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Starring: Live Blues music all evening

Island Blues, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Starring: James Cobb

Shipwreck Landing, 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Starring: Dave Gerard & Groove Thang
Island Blues, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Starring: Mojones Red Hot Rockn' Blues

The Beach Bar, 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Dave Gerard & Groove Thang


Shipwreck Landing, 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Starring: Jimmi "Prime Time" Smith

Island Blues, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Starring: Mitch Woods


The Beach Bar, 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Starring: Surprise Celebrity Blues Artists

Skinny’s owner hopes for fat St. John payoff

TRR_2 Moe Chabuz, owner of the world famous Skinny Legs Bar and Grill in St John, will be running the 8 Tuff Miles Race this weekend for the second year in a row to raise money for the Team River Runner's 2011 USVI trip. 

TRR gives active duty service members and veterans an opportunity to find health, healing, and new challenges through whitewater boating and other paddling sports.

Moe needs your support. He estimates that he will pass from 700 to 800 other racers and is asking people to pledge an amount for each runner he passes as he charges to Coral Bay.

You can support Moe by going to the Skinny Legs web site and making your pledge-per-runner.

Valentine’s Day on the Beach

SCH_1043 For a ninth year, St. John's non-denominational minister Anne Marie Porter presided over a mass Valentine's Day wedding at Trunk Bay.

An estimated 125 couples participated in the vow renewal of vows, formally known as "Celebration of Love."

As the sun began to set on the horizon, couples holding hands and barefoot, repeated promises they made to each other months or years ago. 

In the background there was flute music by Michael Banzhaf. Shakima Jones sang love songs and Albion Sewer played the steel pans.

Also on hand, Tropical Focus Photography's' owners, Karin and Bob Schlesinger.  They, too, repeated their vows and took these photos.

  • If you're interested in participating in next year's Celebration – the 10th – watch this Web site for details: VIVows.com.


There’ll be dancin’ all week long

Love_city_live For the next week, St. John will be the center of the reggae world thanks to a former St. Johnian who loves baseball.

"Indulge in the Vibe" is the dream of Glenn Wasi Philbert and his Global Venture Consultants.  It includes a week of music and parties on St.John and culminates with a huge festival and concert Saturday night at the Winston Wells ball field.

The featured event Saturday will be the launch of "Patriots," the newest album by Third World, international reggae legends.  The Jamaicans take the stage at 11 p.m., just after an hour-long set by St. John's own world class reggae group, Inner Visions.  The evening gets rolling starting at about 8p.m. with non-stop music 'til past midnight.

Tickets for the Saturday concert are $30 with a portion of the proceeds going to an initiative to revive baseball on the island.

Other events during the week include an Ole Time Fish Fry in Coral Bay on Saturday evening, a meet-and-greet for folks at the Tap Room at Mongoose Junction on Thursday, and a "cocktail soiree with live music at Rhumb Lines restaurant Friday evening.

Philbert calls the week's theme, Love City Live. "It's a high-energy outdoor event conceptualized to bring the spirit of St. John alive," he explained. The Web site is ExperienceLoveCityLive.com. Here's the schedule of events.


  • Love City Live! Jackpot & Stilettos, St. John, The Parrot Club (8pm-1am)


  • Ole Time Fish Fry at Cases by the Sea (Coral Bay).


  • 'Beer Vibes' Happy Hour @ The Tap Room.


  • InnervisionsThird World Meet & Greet. St John, Rhumb Lines Restaurant  (6pm-8pm)
  • Rockers Friday. Larry's Landing (9pm-2am). A  classic DJ party with a dance hall feel. There is $5 cover for this adults-only event with all proceeds being donated to the "Reviving Baseball in St. John Initiative".


  • Love City Live! Third World Concert. Winston Wells Ballpark (6pm – 1:30am) 


  • Hangover Champagne Brunch at Miss Lucy's Beachfront Restaurant

Animals party at St. John villa

The cash and credit card slips are still being counted but by all indications the weekend's Animal Care Center fundraiser was a huge success.

Almost 200 people attended the event, "Walk on the Wild Side", hosted at the Chocolate Hole home by Glenn and Joanne Hall.


They opened their magnificent villa to all manner of locals – whiskered, be-tailed,  or masked – and a good time was had.


An extensive menu was available courtesy of many island restaurants. For instance, Skinny Legs offered Crab Cakes and Ted's Supper Club provided Flash Fried Eggplant Croistini.  Cactus on the Blue served up Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas whilke the Lime Inn had Beef Tenderloin available.

"So many incredibly hard working volunteers and generous restaurants and chefs," said Jennifer Dale, an ACC Board member.

A band played on a balcony off one of the bedrooms overlooking the deck (a.k.a., dance hall) and the pool.

"It really was a fantastic party.  The Halls were incredibly gracious hosts, Dale added.

St. John Polar Plunge planned for New Year’s

It wouldn't be a New Year if the evening  news didn't show groups of supposedly-sane people in places like Green Bay, Wisconsin jumping into frigid ponds and lakes.


Cheryl Geller at Coral Bay's Tourist Trap figures, why should St. John miss out on the fun.  So she has announced the First annual St. John Polar Plunge for New Year's Day.

"It may, 'freeze', at 32°, she wrote on her Facebook page, "But round these parts, 79° IS freezing!!!

The idea is that all plungers dress in their wintry-est wear and jump into Salt Pond.  If nothing else, the subsequent group photo will be a keeper.  Geller said she'll use it "to josh and rib Polar Plungers in cold climes around the world." And everybody gets a free Bloody Mary after they take their dip.

Folks participating in the event are being asked to make a donation which will go to help pay the costs of the Concordia Bush Cat Feeding Station.