If you were in town 2 weekends ago, it’s a good chance you were at the Gasparilla Music Festival; you… and what seemed like the rest of the Tampa Bay area. With 2 full days of back to back performers, there was certainly no lack of entertainment. We were lucky enough to meet Jamie who was running PR for the event the week prior and she hooked up us with some passes for the festival. As you might know, our group is always on the lookout for new music. We are constantly Facebooking, Tweeting & Shazaming songs to spread the music love- so we were super stoked to check out the bands and see if we could find some new jams.
Ryan, Nicholas & I took a look at the list of performers for each day and after Youtubing and Spotifying (how many more social networks and websites can I mention in this post?) we found some bands we definitely wanted to check out on Saturday. Since the event was being held at Curtis Hixon, we once again thought it would be a good idea to bus it downtown. After a missed stop, a short walk and an awkward encounter with a man on the bus we were ready to get the day started. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to go last year but after hearing how amazing it was we were anxious to get inside and see how everything worked. The first thing that caught our attention was the amount of people at the event- it was packed! We shouldn’t have been so shocked though, the weather was perfect, the music sounded great and the view over the water at our alma mater, The University of Tampa was breathtaking. There were 4 different stages and all the performers were staggered so when one was over, you just cruised on over to the next and kept on jamming. We decided to head into the amphitheater and take in our first show, Matt Woods. This was probably my favorite stage of the whole festival. It was so intimate and the view over the river was gorgeous- not to mention how awesome he sounded. We were definitely off to a good start.
Apparently all the walking we did after we missed the first bus (fail) caused us to work up an appetite and it was over to the row of food tents to browse the options. There were tons of restaurants to choose from and we must have walked back and forth 7 or 8 times before we made a decision. Ryan, being probably the most adventurous food-wise in the group, went for the smoked pork and gator sausage with southern slaw from The Refinery in Seminole Heights. Never Have WE Ever tried pork & gator, but I have to say, not bad. Still on the hunt for some grub, Nicholas and I went for grilled cheeses from The Independent. Except these weren’t your grandma’s grilled cheeses made with white bread and Kraft cheese straight from the plastic package, they were legit. I opted for the one with feta, spinach and roasted red peppers while Nicholas decided on the Indie grilled cheese (pears sautéed in honey and spices, and creamy gouda, served pressed on rye bread). After one bite I knew we made the right decision. Delicious!
After our snacks we decided to venture around and grab some drinks. While the boys went for a Blue from Sweetwater 420, I enjoyed a Florida Ave Ale as we took in some more acts. After a quick bus ride home to let Dex out- we were back downtown to check out the bands we were most excited about, Delta Spirit, RJD2 (check out this website if you have some time. It’s totally interactive and awesome) & The Flaming Lips. I was especially excited to see RJd2 because a. He’s from Philly (I know what you’re thinking.. you’re from South Jersey, that’s not Philadelphia, whatever) and b. his musical style was described as “trip hop”. This was probably my favorite performance of the day. Not to mention the break dancers and hula hoopers (not totally sure what the noun for someone that Hula Hoops would be?) that broke out right near us.
When it came time for the headliner, The Flaming Lips, the weather had definitely cooled off and we needed something sweet to warm us up. Obviously everyone had the same idea as we hopped in the long line at the Hot Donut cart. As we waited, we watched the donuts being made and couldn’t wait to get our hands on the goodness. The boys chose their toppings and we headed back towards the stage for the main event. It was a long day and a lot of back and forth but it was definitely worth it to have a chance to be a part of one of the biggest things Tampa’s got going and we can’t wait to see what the next few years bring to the event and our great city.
Rock On- Allison