Join us for fun, food and great live music at the Inaugural Naples Blues & BBQ Festival in Naples, FL the weekend of April 1-3, 2022. Festivities begin Friday evening from 4pm-10pm and continue through the weekend with hours on Saturday 11am-10pm and Sunday 11am-6pm. General admission is FREE! The event is held at the Italian American Club on Airport-Pulling Rd (see map below).
The event will include great food including mouth-watering fresh-cooked BBQ (along with scrumptious seafood, other meat and vegetarian dishes) all supplemented with great side dishes and of course – desserts!
While eating, sit back and enjoy amazing live musical performances by many of Florida’s top jazz and blues musicians. Also for your enjoyment will be a marketplace where you can shop for arts, crafts and fine products! As the event nears, a Performance Schedule will be posted in the column to your right that shows the bands and their performance times.
We will be here, awaiting your arrival. Come partake of great food, listen to awesome music and buy some good art and products. A great recipe for a weekend of pure enjoyment and relaxation: The Naples Blues & BBQ Festival on April 1-3, 2022.
NOTE: Bands subject to change. Please check as the event nears for any changes to the Performance Schedule.
NOTE: This event and the grounds of the Italian American Club are pet-friendly!
Ben Prestage: guitar, vocals
GENRES: Blues – Bluegrass – Roots – Americana
“When my father was growing up in Mississippi,” states Ben, “ they never had running water and the only electricity was one light bulb that hung from the ceiling, but they had it better than some of their neighbors, because they didn’t have dirt floors. I grew up in rural Florida, on a 14-mile-long dirt road, near the headwaters of the Everglades. It was 7 miles either direction to the nearest paved road, and when you got to pavement, you still weren’t near a town. It was panther, gator, and cottonmouth country. Out there, there was only one kind of music in the house. Whether it was being played on an instrument, or on a recording, it was Blues.
“One day though, in my early teens, I went to help a neighbor build a chicken-coop on his property. When we went inside to eat lunch, I asked him about a banjo I saw in the corner. He picked it up and I heard Bluegrass music for the first time. He was from a musical family and learned old-time banjo from his father from the South Ohio/North Kentucky hills. He lived half a mile away, but it was so quiet out there, you could hear that banjo all the way to my house, if he was on his porch and I was on mine.. He made homemede wine with my dad and when he’d come over, he’d bring his banjo and show me how to pick with my fingers instead of a plectrum.”
Later while living in Memphis, Prestage became a busker (street performer) on historic Beale Street. This is where he perfected his drum-kit. “I played out there a few times with nothing but a guitar and my voice. Once people heard me they liked it, but it was hard to get them on my side of the street with all the other music going on down there. There were some other guys out there who played drums with their feet, and they always got people’s attention. I started playing drums with my feet as an attention grabber but soon found out that the drums played with foot pedals actually enhaced my music dramatically. Not only were people listening and buyin’ discs, they were now dancing and hollerin’ to boot. Now I am to the point where, if you close your eyes, you would think there was a professional drummer with a full-size drumkit behind me. I learned alot from the guys I shared the street with, including John Lowe, (inventor of the Lowebow, a type of diddley-bow that I play), Robert Belfour, and Richard Johnston.”
Ben returned to Memphis over the next few years for the International Blues Challenge (the world’s largest gathering of Blues musicians) and within three consecutive years took he 4th, 3rd, and 2nd place. He is also the only two-time recipient of the Lyon/Pitchford Award for “Best Diddley-Bow Player.” Ben’s interesting approach to instrumentation, (fingerstyle guitar, harmonica, banjo, lap-steel, fiddle, resonator guitar, foot-drums, vocals, and his award-winning original songwriting (recipient of “The Most Unique Performer” at “The Song- writers’ Showcase of America”) has earned him invitations to perform across North America, Europe, and as far as North Africa. All awards aside, he has proven himself, through his live performances, to be the future of American Blues, Roots Music, Americana and is one of today’s most talented outsider.
Tampa’s Damon Fowler, a masterful singer, guitar player and songwriter, has absorbed the best of and furthered the work of the region’s definitive artists. A hard driving troubadour, his music is steeped with soul and representative of the many styles that make up the roots of American music. He has gained the respect of his peers given his featured slot in Butch Truck’s Freight Train band and his side gig as guitarist in the Dickey Betts Band. Critics have compared Fowler’s guitar work to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, while his slide guitar is reminiscent of the late Duane Allman. Fowler can play fiery guitar runs with the best of them, and his lyrical work on lap steel and dobro makes him a stand out performer among the legions of guitar heroes. His new release, ALAFIA MOON, combines all the influences that have shaped his distinctive blues career.
On the strength of Fowler’s hybrid of roots rock, blues, and sacred steel, the Florida native started wowing audiences with his musical exploits as a teenager, building a reputation as one of the hottest young players on the scene. Adding songwriting and vocal skills to his repertoire over the years has brought him many accolades, with music journalists extolling his originality and maturity as well as his technical guitar expertise. All of these attributes have helped further define Damon Fowler as one of the great Southern artists of his time.