I recently attended the Gasparilla Music Festival in Tampa, Florida. It’s an all day, all weekend music, local foods & brews, arts & crafts festival that is truly fun for the whole family! I was so impressed with this event. Here’s why:
- There was something for everyone. For kids of all ages, there was fun around every corner. I felt most akin to the giant art wall and the musical tent designed to inspire and empower children to paint the next Mona Lisa or play an instrument they’ve never seen before.
- Live music. There’s just something so wonderful about live music. Wouldn’t you agree? I was inspired to write this blog because of new bands I was introduced to at this festival. They had me buying their albums the next day and I’ve been listening ever since. This festival packs a cultural line up. Again, a little something for everyone. A kids corner for rockin’ out with the festively dressed Bears & Lions. Live music could be enjoyed from any of the four stages throughout the days with local bands from all different genres. From rock to indie to the big brass sounds of New Orleans all the way to Venezuela for some latin influence and of course, more mainstream headliners, Cage the Elephant and Ryan Adams, to bring it all home. It was a jam packed line up designed to cultivate and spark the senses.
- I love the cause. While researching, I discovered the festival is not only back by many local supporters, but also put on by local nonprofit. The Gasparilla Music Foundation is an arts and cultural organization dedicated to youth education through local music promotion. What a cool thing for my city! With continued budgets cuts to schools and in response, having to scale back on extracurricular activities like music education, it’s good to know I live in a place where the community can come together and fill the gap.
- The food and beverage selections. Every vendor was local. They didn’t populate the park with carnie food trucks, nope. They classed it up and went to the local restaurants. Each tent decked out the same and very nondescript. Instead event organizers let the aromas of delicious food guide you to the vendor. Local breweries, and there are many mainly because Tampainians like to drink, were decked out with their latest pours and well staffed to really execute and move the lines quickly. Which is a major deal at large events like this. Another note worth mentioning was how clean everything was. I loved that not only did they place their garbage cans strategically, but they had constant maintenance of them to ensure they didn’t overflow. This is a small thing but such a big deal. Good for you, event planners! You get a big A for Awesome on that one.
- And finally, the location. You could not ask for a better venue for this. Located in Curtis Hixon Park, right in downtown Tampa on the Hillsborough River side. This park provides wide open spaces and two levels. Perfect for separate stage setups. This park also has its own amphitheatre which naturally presents event organizers with another stage option. There is cause for concern because this park offers very little shade and in Florida, even in early March, the sun and heat can be brutal. Fortunately the event contained several large tents for festival goers to lounge under.
If you live in the Tampa Bay area, this is a must attend event! Check out the details about this event and more at: https://gasparillamusic.com or peruse pictures from this year’s event on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/gasparillamusic/
See you next year. Cheers and rock on!