Best Of 2020

Winner: The Wandering Hours @thewanderinghours on Facebook.

Second Place: Derrick Williams & The Gospel Voice Band derrickwilliamsvocalist.com

Runner Up: The Black Honkeys theblackhonkeys.com

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Winner: The Applebutter Express @TheApplebutterExpress on Facebook.

Second Place: The Wandering Hours @thewanderinghours on Facebook.

Runner Up: The Florida Mountain Boys @The-Florida-Mountain-Boys on Facebook.

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Winner: Stephen P Brown stephenpbrown.com

Second Place: Colleen Schmitt linkedin.com/in/colleen-schmitt

Runner Up: Mark Sforzini marksforzini.com

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Winner: DJ Mike Sklarz @djmikesklarz on Instagram.

Second Place: DJ Paul Santana djsantana.com

Runner Up: DJ Austen Van Der Bleek avbleek.com

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Winner: Gasparilla Music Festival gasparillamusic.com

Second Place: 97x Next Big Thing 97xonline.com 

Runner Up: Billy Joel at AMALIE Arena cltampa.com

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Winner: Brokenmold Entertainment brokenmoldentertainment.com

Second Place: FWDThinkers fwdthinkersmusic.com

Runner Up: TampaBayNightLife.TV tampabaynightlife.tv

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Kitty Daniels

Kitty Daniels is an octogenarian matriarch of the Tampa Bay jazz scene and the last person I expected to see jump on the coronavirus livestream bandwagon, but her sessions—bare bones with just a piano and whatever light was in the room—were some of the most heartwarming of those early shutdown days. Her love of the Great American Songbook shone through, and if you tuned in for even just five minutes, your day could be transformed. kittydaniels.com —Ray Roa

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'Underoath: Observatory'

COVID-19 still has the national touring industry in a chokehold. Across the country, venues are closing and musicians are having to quit their craft to keep food on the table (streaming services virtually eliminated income from album sales, remember?). Everywhere, artists at every level started livestreaming. Some of it was cringeworthy, but all of it was—and still is—a chance for the community to support its creative class. One local band, however, went all out. Granted, Underoath (which was supposed to open for Slipknot in arenas this summer) is in a different league when it comes to fanbase (the Grammy-nominated rock outfit sold-out Yuengling Center for chrissake), but it was able to use its resources to turn its ambitions into reality with a series of cinematically-shot, live full-album performances staged at an off-the-record soundstage in Tampa. The band sold exclusive online access to fans—and ask local venues to sell discounted tickets and make some money for themselves—but bundled a lot of it with merch to help the bottom line. On the day of the first show, Forbes reported that revenue from the band’s “Observatory” concerts was on pace to “compensate for all the touring revenue lost this year,” adding that when sales started for the concerts, there was “a conversion rate of $800 per email,” which led to the band passing “the six-figure threshold in the first two days of sales.” That’s a lot of money for crew, support staff and the band itself—and if other bands can pull it off, it looks like a model that could save bands with equally devoted and widespread fanbases. underoath777.com —Ray Roa

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Big Baby Scumbag

There are plenty of reasons to be more like Big Baby Scumbag right now, and the foremost is hygiene. The Tampa rapper born Tyrell Williams hasn’t changed his routine too much in the face of the coronavirus because he was pretty damn tidy to begin with. “Honestly, man,I wash my hands all the time. I’m not saying a lot of people are dirty, but people aren’t as clean as they need to be,” Scumbag, 25, told CL in April. Plus, the Town ‘N’ Country product is having a hell of a year. In January, Pitchfork gave his Big Baby Earnhardt mixtape a 7.1, adding that “The tracks on the Florida rapper’s latest tape overflow with jubilant maximalism and have a proudly Southern bounce.” A follow up (www.flexedupshawty.com), released in August) is a Windows 98-style throwdown, but our favorite single is March’s “Fuck Coronavirus 2020”—a full-blown trap rager where a masked Scumbag passes on dapping people or shaking hands all while spraying them down with Lysol and drinking Bud Light instead of White Claw. In the hook, Scumbag joyously sings, “Fuck coronavirus. I’ll punch him in his jaw.” If he was in office instead of DeSantis, we might have this thing under control by now. @bigbabyscumbag on Instagram —Ray Roa

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Winner: Soul Circus Cowboys soulcircuscowboys.com

Second Place: Aubrey Wollett aubreywollett.com

Runner Up: J.T. Curtis and The Florida Scoundrels @jtcurtisandthefloridascoundrels on Facebook.

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