Inaugural Tampa Beat Weekend drops into Ybor City — here's everything you need to know

CL talks with judge James Knox and founder Mack Sullivan


James Knox — aka DJ Knox — is pretty blunt in describing the reaction a listener might give when he or she hears a good beat.

UPDATE: Producer Henry Daher (pictured above) was confirmed for Tampa Beat Weekend's industry panel after we sent this story to the printer.

“The stank face. When your whole face scrunches up like a raisin and you’re just nodding your head. After it goes off you look to the person next to you and say ‘that was dope,’” Knox, a Bay area producer, told CL. The scene staple would know (he just performed sets at Miami’s Rolling Loud Festival), and attendees at Tampa Bay Beat Weekend will have eyes locked on him as he joins a panel of judges who’ll be listening on day one of the new beat-centric convention taking over The Bricks in Ybor City.

Read: Catching up with Tampa's DJ Knox, who knocked Miami's Rolling Loud Fest on its ass this weekend

The three-day affair kicks off with a beat battle on Friday, and Knox thinks the winning submission will have bounce, energy and a mix that places each instrument and sound in just the right place.

Beat Weekend founder Mack Sullivan agrees and says you can pretty much tell if you’re going to like a beat during its first few moments. Sullivan, 19, along with the folks who organize the [beatsnchill] monthly at The Bricks, is hoping for 200-250 attendees to move through over the weekend. Friday will feature the battle along with some live performances, and Saturday finds attendees getting an early start thanks to a “beat flea market” where producers can set up laptops and headphones to shop their wares. The market will unfold into a networking event, in-depth industry panel and Q&A that includes Collin Stanback (Geffen Records, Hodgy Beats) and producer Henry Daher (G-Eazy, wifisfuneral, more). Sunday is a special edition of [beatsnchill], and Sullivan hopes the weekend gives producers more tools that will allow them to spread their sound and make a living making music.

Listen: Taking the Drake out of Drake — Tampa emcees take a ride with Drizzy

“I mean, one of the tracks on Kendrick's new record was recorded through an iRig by an 18-year-old kid,” Sullivan said, referencing Grammy-nominated wunderkind Steve Lacy, who produced DAMN. highlight “Pride” using GarageBand. “A lot of it is right place right time, but really it’s the culmination of a lot of gradual growth — I want the panel to guide people through that.”

“This literally is the start of something great in my eyes,” Knox said, adding that he thinks the area has been waiting for an event like this. “There are so many people making music in this area. This type of weekend and platform needs to be here. Hopefully [it] becomes a staple in the state and in the region in the near future.”

Get more info on Tampa Beat Weekend via local.cltampa.com. Listen to production from panel speaker Henry Daher below.


Tampa Beat Weekend
Beat Battle | Beat Swap Meet + Industry Panel | Special Edition of [beatsnchill] 
Fri.-Sat. No Cover.
The Bricks, 1327 E. 7th Ave. Ybor City.


About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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