Slash S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival: A Celebration of the Blues at Red Butte Garden

Slash, the Guns n’ Roses iconic lead guitarist, is bringing his S.E.R.P.E.N.T Festival: A Celebration of the Blues to Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. The all-star Blues lineup includes Keb’ Mo’, Samantha Fish, and Jackie Venson.

The S.E.R.P.E.N.T. festival, which stands for Solidarity, Engagement, Restore, Peace, Equality, N’ Tolerance brings fans together to celebrate the spirit of the Blues and supports marginalized communities. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to The Equal Justice Initiative, Know Your Rights Camp, The Greenlining Institute, and War Child.

Slash, the Grammy-winning guitarist and songwriter is also touring in support of his highly anticipated sixth solo album Orgy of the Damned. On this project, he joins forces with other rock and blues legends to infuse new life into great classics. Chris Robinson adds a Black Crowes spin to Steppenwolf’s 1960s psychedelic tune, “The Pusher.” Beth Hart reignites T Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday” with Slash providing his bluesy guitar magic. Others in the star-studded lineup include Chris Stapleton, Iggy Pop, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, Billy F. Gibbons to name but a few. 

Keb’ Mo’

Keb’ Mo’ returns to the Garden to share his chart-topping, post-modern Delta Blues. A bluesman and multi-Grammy award winner, and straight out of Compton, California, Keb’ Mo’ isn’t afraid to infuse more contemporary urban R&B into his repertoire. Now a resident of Nashville, he’s also at home mixing in country, soul, pop and Americana flavorings to his musical stew. A master entertainer and storyteller, he tackles the struggles of life with a resilience and hopefulness that leaves his audience feeling uplifted. 

His song “The Medicine Man,” for example, captures the anxiety and isolation we all experienced a few years ago. Yet, to combat that despair, he optimistically reassures us that we’ll get through the hard times together. Click this link for a fun live-performance video of Keb’ Mo’ playing the song with Old Crow Medicine Show. 

Samantha Fish

Samantha Fish is a must-see blues master. Her song “Bulletproof,” performed on her signature cigar box guitar, stokes everything that thrills me about live music: talent, pageantry, performance, and a great rockin’ blues guitar riff. See a video of the tune here. I first discovered Fish in New Orleans several years ago and have since seen her in Denver and most recently, at The Commonwealth Room. Her latest record Death Wish Blues earned her a 2024 Grammy-nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Fish has amassed a huge catalog of great rockin’ blues music, but it’s her live performance that brings the material to life. Here’s a video of her performing the classic “I Put A Spell On You.”

See our review of Samantha Fish at The Commonwealth Room in 2023.

Jackie Venson, from Austin,Texas celebrated her national television debut on her hometown Austin City Limits stage in 2020. See a video of the performance here. A relative newcomer (she’s only been putting out records for a mere decade) and a Berklee College of Music alum (she studied classical piano), Venson picked up the guitar in her senior year and now shreds it professionally with a laid-back grace. Influenced by blues guitar legends Buddy Guy, Eric Gales, and Derek Trucks, Venson blends raw blues licks with electronic beats which allows her to incorporate hip-hop and R&B elements to her sound, adding a soulful rhythm and blues to the complex canopy of the Americana tree.

Fun Fact: Jackie Venson sports an alter ego:  DJ jackie the robot (all lower case) where she takes her music and mixes it to create psychedelic electronic dance grooves.

Jackie Venson.

Slash and company put together a blues festival and packed it into one magical evening on the hillside. Tickets may still be available. But, don’t wait too long. 

Who: Slash, Keb’ Mo’, Samantha Fish, and Jackie Venson
What: Slash S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival: A Celebration of the Blues
Where: Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
When: Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Info and tickets:

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John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

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