Gasparilla Music Fest: Do's & Don'ts

A quick guide to making the most of your GMF experience.

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DO arrive early enough to see the locals. These are some of Tampa Bay’s best, most buzzed-about performers and have been vetted for your viewing and listening pleasure, which means they’ve proven worthy of your attention. Show some support — you might discover something you love. Dynasty, Geri X, Selwyn Birchwood, UNRB, The Porch Sessions, RedFeather, The Hip Abduction and Dean Johanesen are all names you should know.

DON’T rush from stage to stage trying to see everything. You’ll just exhaust yourself and enjoy nothing. If you see a band you dig, stick around; likewise, if you end up catching someone you wanted to see but he’s boring the shit out of you, don’t feel bad about bailing. There’s always going to be something else happening elsewhere. Go discover! If all else fails, eat.

click to enlarge Gasparilla Music Fest: Do's & Don'ts - Phil Bardi
Phil Bardi
Gasparilla Music Fest: Do's & Don'ts

DO come hungry, with pocket money. GMF showcases nearly 20 fantastic local eateries. “I look at it as a menu,” Ty Rodriguez explained. “Each place representing what they’re doing really, really well, but on top of that, it’s all the true flavor of Tampa, there’s no corporate restaurants, it’s all heart.” Even if there isn’t a band that appeals to you, the amazing food lineup should be a draw all on its own; stinky bunz from Anise Global Gastrobar, prime rib sammies from Malio’s Prime Steakhouse, The Independent’s Indie grilled cheese, the legendary Chicken & Waffle Cone from Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café … ready to eat, yet?

DO pace yourself. I mean, like, duh, right? But seriously, it’s easy to get drawn into the Tito’s tent for repeat trips on the vodka train, and we know those beer offerings are cold, tasty and crafty (Cigar City Brewing returns along with Sweetwater), but you DON’T want to be that gal or you just might end up sloppy on Instagram. And no one wants that.

DON’T forget to bring all the essentials. Sunscreen, throw blankets and hats might seem obvious, but add a hoodie to the mix. You’ll be glad to have the extra layer once the temperature drops a bit in the evening.

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