By Madison Kazar
After throwing beads and invading the bay, Tampanians will soon come together to relax and listen to a wide array of musicians in Curtis Hixon Park. The fourth phase of Tampa’s annual Gasparilla Celebration, Gasparilla Music Festival (GMF), will be held on Mar. 12 and 13. This weekend-long event will be composed of local eateries, blanket-strewn seating and live performances from Houndmouth, Erykah Badu, MS MR, DieAlps! and Fruition to name a few.
Celebrating all things Tampa, this event will feature local restaurants catering to all appetites and taste buds. From prime rib to gourmet popsicles, there will be a vast selection of options to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
Ella’s Café will be providing attendees with their signature Chicken & Waffle Cone and Asian Smoked Pork Tostada and The Independent Bar and Café (located nine minutes away from campus) will be serving up their Indie Grilled Cheese. To acknowledge Tampa’s Cuban roots, Café Hey will be dishing out the classic Cuban sandwich to remind locals of the unique background that created this incredibly original city.
UT’s historic Plant Hall will be the backdrop for the event. Before a backdrop of skyscrapers, over 40 bands will provide the soundtrack for this year’s GMF, ranging from Indie rock to R&B.
Continuing to highlight local aspects, the festival not only shines a light on local businesses, but also the talent found in the Bay Area. The line-up, predominantly Tampa native musicians, consists of blues artist Damon Fowler, funk- reggae band The Ries Brothers, folk artist Ella Jet and more.
Gritt, a band originally from Tampa, expressed their excitement to be on this year’s line-up. “Since we’re all originally from Tampa, we’re most excited about playing to a hometown crowd,” lead singer, keyboardist, and rhythm guitarist Gytis Garsys said. “We’ve got a lot of friends and family who haven’t gotten a chance to see us and are coming to the festival specifically to do so, so we’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll.”
Garsys delves into the dynamics of the lineup and the imminent release of new music. “ Playing on the same bill as artists like Charles Bradley, Lucero and Erykah Badu is pretty mind blowing, but I’m most impressed by the lineup’s depth,” Garsys said. “From top to bottom, there’s no lack of talent. We’re grateful for the opportunity to show people how we do. We’ve also been writing a lot since the release of our EP, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we premiere a couple tunes at the festival.”
Tampa tunes, a huge component of what makes the city and the festival unique, can be heard for $30-$60 depending on the number of days one wishes to attend. Volunteer opportunities are available for students on a budget. For a general admission one-day ticket, students can either volunteer to assist in the set-up process or volunteer for a specific day. Volunteer opportunities can be secured at http://gasparillamusic.com.
Madison Kazar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.