The Black Keys, Bleachers, to headline Tampa's 97X Next Big Thing this winter

NBT is back in Clearwater, too.

click to enlarge The Black Keys, Bleachers, to headline Tampa's 97X Next Big Thing this winter
Photo by Dave Decker
Things are just like they used to be, because 97X has announced a major return to its roots for the 22nd annual Next Big Thing, which goes down on Sunday, Dec. 3.

This year’s installment of the alt-rock music festival is being stripped down to a one-day affair and will take at Coachman Park’s new live music venue, The Sound. Downtown Clearwater’s beloved waterfront park has not been home to NBT since its single day, 2005 iteration, which brought in the likes of 30 Seconds To Mars and a pre-Black Parade My Chemical Romance.

As of now, The Black Keys and Bleachers—both NBT veterans—are this year’s main headliners. Joining in the fun will be British indie rock outfit Lovejoy, New York indie pop quintet MisterWives—last seen in Tampa opening for Twenty One Pilots in 2019—and Little Image, a trio that describes itself as a “group of perpetually online suburban teens who were obsessed with underground indie rock.”

More bands and artists will be announced soon, and as always, the winner of an annual Battle Of The Bands at Seminole Hard Rock and Casino Tampa will kick the day off.

A press release from 97X says tickets to the 22nd annual 97X Next Big Thing go on sale to the public this Friday, Sept. 29 and start at $49. Tickets are available at The Raymond James Central Ticket Office at Ruth Eckerd Hall—1111 N. McMullen Booth Rd., Clearwater—by calling 727-791-7400.
“We’re excited about bringing 97X Next Big Thing back to where it all started back in 2001!” Cox Media Director of Special Events Dan Connelly wrote in a press release. “We can’t think of a better backdrop for the 97X Next Big Thing than the amazing water and sunset views at the Sound.”

Don’t let the current, small lineup get you down, though. NBT is notorious for both electric and acoustic side stage shows away from all the main stage action. And The Green—Coachman Park’s 19-acre lawn just outside the gates to The Sound—has a side stage installed, normally graced by our local friends. So if a further away entry to the venue —or extra gating to connect The Green to The Sound, in an effort to prevent reentry fiascos—is feasible, maybe this move back home won’t be so different after all.

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About The Author

Josh Bradley

Josh Bradley is Creative Loafing Tampa's resident live music freak. He started freelancing with the paper in 2020 at the age of 18, and has since covered, announced, and previewed numerous live shows in Tampa Bay. Check the music section in print and online every week for the latest in local live music.
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