Venue Spotlight: Jannus in St. Petersburg, FL

By Patrick Skidmore

In 1984 three men got together and created what would become one of the premiere concert venues in the Tampa Bay area, Jannus Live. Originally called Jannus Landing, this open-air courtyard was recently named “Best in the Bay” by Creative Loafing.

It is a quirky venue, with a pole right in the middle of the dance floor. The pole is covered in a substance to prevent people from climbing it. Growing up, I attended a lot of punk shows there, and I was always amazed at how the pit would form and people would circle and dance all around the pole yet never hit it.

The Hotel Detroit, a condo building located to one side, has balconies overlooking the venue, a music lover’s dream. On the opposite side sits a pizza shop that sells slices of pizza out its back door to concert goers. Lots of uneven and broken concrete on the ground formerly made for an adventure when the lights in the venue would go dark.

But in 2009 Jannus Landing began to transform. Under new ownership, Jannus Landing became Jannus Live, and we began to see lots of upgrades. I remember feeling uneasy and hoped they would not upgrade it to the point that it lost its character. They didn’t, however, and now the venue is bigger and better than ever.

The floor is no longer made of broken concrete, the bathrooms are no longer dingy and dark, and the sound and lighting systems were brought up to date. Moreover, an additional pole was added. As the poles are no longer in the center of the stage, the only thing I lost to these upgrades was the entertainment of watching people circle the pole.

The owners added bars and a VIP area as well. Most importantly, the balconies still overlook stage, allowing me to continue dreaming about watching every show from my home someday.

If you are ever in the Tampa Bay area, I highly recommend you check out the concert calendar at Jannus. With music almost nightly, covering every genre imaginable, you will surely find something that interests you.

For more information, please visit www.JannusLive.com.

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