- A view from the stage at Gasparilla Music Festival 2013
After attending a few years' worth of Gasparilla Music Festivals (reviews of 2012 and 2013), it's starting to feel like the performances are almost secondary to the experience as a whole. The relaxed and contented ambiance that permeated past GMFs is the first thing that comes to mind when I reminisce. All my warmest memories involve the people I ran into, some familiar faces and others completely unexpected, and the lazy conversations we had and quality time we spent hanging or lounging amid checking out music, munching on various sweet and savory treats, appreciating downtown Tampa's scenic waterside cityscape and the city's growth overall, and enjoying the pristine spring weather, because it's early March and we live in Florida and that's what we do here.
But make no mistake about it, the music is what draws the people. More than 9,000 local folks descended upon GMF last year, and this number will likely double as the not-for-profit grassroots festival expands to two days and offers even more in the way of high-quality food and musical entertainment for its third annual edition this weekend. A peek at some highlights along with a playlist, schedule and more info after the jump ...
- Phil Bardi
- A pulled pork sammie & homemade chips from Holy Hog BBQ; GMF 2013
GMF resembles NOLA Jazz Fest in its attention to food detail. Fest organizers take great pains in selecting the restaurants, caterers and vendors serving eats at GMF, and the 19 setting up shop at the park this weekend embody some of the best that Tampa Bay has to offer. Among this year's show-stoppers are belovedly scrumptious returning treats like The Independent's "Indie" grilled cheese with gouda and pears, Malio's prime rib sammies and the chicken & waffle cones from Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe. The Refinery switches it up with smoked pork & gator sausage with Southern slaw, while tempting new taste contenders include eclairs and cake pops from Alessi Bakery, Monte Cristos and other fried delights from Dochos, and baby back ribs by Grille One Sixteen.
A bevy of beverages are available to wash down all that fodder. Sweetwater and Yuengling attend to the wider beer-drinking audiences while the growing local brewery scene is repped by Florida Ave Ales and Tampa Bay Brew Co. The liquor is managed by Tito's Handmade Vodka and Dickel Tennessee Whiskey, the latter serving custom cocktails from a booth that was jammed all day long last year. For non-alcoholic options, What Ever Pops provides the usual selection of fine gourmet ice pops (chocolate sea salt is a fave), Kona Ice handles shaved ice and ice cream, and another preferred stop, the Hot Donut Cart, not only hawks its namesake treats but some fine fresh-brewed coffee, too.
The lineup for GMF 2014 proves even more diverse than ever, with four stages and 40 acts touching on all manner of aesthetics — Latin music, blues, folk, Americana, New Orleans-style funk 'n' jazz, rock of all sorts from indie to experimental, singer-songwriter fare, and more.
Overlords of psychedelia The Flaming Lips headline Saturday's festivities with their typical eye-dazzling stage extravaganza. Other standouts include the psych-soulful/blacksploitation dramatic/spaghetti western-spacious sounds of Adrian Younge's Venice Dawn; twangy, ladies-led garage rock by Those Darlins; the spaced-out analog grooves and hip-hop funky production qualities of RJD2; and barroom-howling Southern crispy-fried rock n' roll by J Roddy Walston & the Business.
Sunday proves to be more family-oriented (a kid's fest occurs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both days but Sunday ends earlier and is less jam-packed with music). The lineup encompasses, among others, St. Augustine-based twin brothers duo The Dewars, who purvey quirky-droll '60s-hued psych-folk music with a definitive Brit Invasion vibe (reminiscent of The Kinks circa Village Green Preservation Society); Deluxe, the new alt-rock project of Tommy Simms (Win Win Winter, Automatic Loveletter); and Hackensaw Boys, who pit lovely multi-part vocal harmonies against string-band stomp. NOLA sensation Trombone Shorty closes the party on Sunday evening with his vivacious, brass-blasted fusion of funk, jazz and hip-hop.
My own GMF musical itinerary is an overzealous affair that touches on far more than I can reasonably expect to fit in over two days, even with the best of intentions. But you can bet I'm sure as hell gonna try, and I'll be stuffing my gourd and meeting up with friends all along the way.
Gasparilla Music Festival Sat.-Sun., March 8-9, 11 a.m. start each day, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Kiley Garden, downtown Tampa, $60 advance weekend pass; $40 Saturday, $30 Sunday single-day advance tickets also available. More info at gasparillamusicfestival.com.
GMF 3 PLAYLIST
GASPARILLA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2014 SCHEDULE IN FULL
SOULSHINE STAGE (Curtis Hixon Park)
11-11:30 a.m. Gospel music
Noon-12:45 p.m. Benjamin Booker
1:15-2 p.m. Will Quinlan & The Holy Slow Train
2:30-3:30 p.m. Culture featuring Kenyatta Hill
4-5:15 p.m. Anders Osborne
5:45-6:45 p.m. Adrian Younge's Venice Dawn
7:15-8:30 p.m. Delta Spirit
9-10:30 p.m. The Flaming Lips
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Amanda Shires
12:45-1:45 p.m. Hackensaw Boys
2:15-3:15 p.m. Grupo Fantasma
3:45-5 p.m. Jason Isbell
5:30-7 p.m. Trombone Shorty
HIGHER GROUND STAGE (Kiley Gardens)
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Kid's Fest
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Small Fish
12:30-1:15 p.m. Good Graeff
1:45-2:45pm Dirty Bourbon River Show
3:15-4 p.m. Those Darlins
4:30-5:30 p.m. J Roddy Walston & the Business
6-7:15 p.m. Los Amigos Invisibles
7:45-9 p.m. RJD2
10:45-11:45 a.m. Yoga Rhythm Lounge
Noon-12:45 p.m. Under the Willow
1:15-2:15 p.m. Spam Allstars
2:45-4 p.m. The Soul Rebels
4:30-6 p.m. Tea Leaf Green
BAKER BARRIOS STAGE (Amphitheatre)
1:15-1:45 p.m. Connor Zwetsch
2:45-3:15p.m. Matt Woods
4-4:30 p.m. Atlantic Oceans
5:30-6 p.m. Alexander & the Grapes
7:15-7:45 p.m. Deluxe
2:15-2:45 p.m. Matt Hires
12:45-1:15 p.m. 10th Concession
4-4:30 p.m. Dewars
CREATIVE CONTRACTORS STAGE (Tibbetts' Corner)
1:15-1:45 p.m. WAHH World Fusion Band
2:45-3:15 p.m. Zulu Wave
4-4:30 p.m. Hymn for Her
5:30-6 p.m. Sunbears!
7:15-7:45 p.m. Sons of Hippies
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Kid's Fest
12:45-1:15 p.m. Jim Chambers Music Box presents Sunday Secret
2:15-2:45 p.m. SWIMM
4-4:30 p.m. Florida Night Heat