Gasparilla Music Festival Celebrates Year 10

By on October 7, 2021

The Gasparilla Music Festival Presented by Coppertail Brewing celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend in Downtown Tampa.

The festival took place at Citrus Hixon Park and Kiley Gardens. Unlike years past, the festival was held in October instead of the usual March dates. There was also the addition of Friday, making it a 3 day festival.  

All Photos by Steven Muncie

Day 1 – Friday

BabyJake rocked the crowd at the JW Marriott Stage. 

The Urban Pop artist got the crowd moving with his hit ‘Cigarettes on Patios’. His set also included a cover of ‘Beast of Burden’ by The Rolling Stones.

Next up on the JW Marriott Stage was MOD SUN, who combines pop, rap, punk, and electronic music in a totally unique way. 

 The set started with ‘Karma’ and ‘Betterman’.

Mod Sun mentions late in the set that since the festival is in the middle of downtown, everyone can hear us. The crowd screamed as the open strum of ‘Down’ starts. You can feel the energy pick up.

The other side of the festival grounds is where the “Camp The Park” event was taking place. Featuring SPIN classes with a live DJ. The event wrapped up around sunset and it was time for the after party.

The Camp The Park after party featured Young MC performing on the Morgan Automotive Stage.

Wearing a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey, Young MC opened the set with ‘Back At It’ And ‘Nocturnal.’ Hit songs ‘Know How’ and ‘Bust A Move’ closed out the set.

Closing out day 1 of GMF was Electronic Music Duo Sofi Tukker. This was the first time they’ve performed in Tampa and the atmosphere felt like a true rave. They opened with ‘F They’.  

Tucker asks where the ‘Freak Fam’ Is at, the nickname for their fans, before playing ‘house arrest’. Which was released and became popular during the Covid Pandemic Lockdown.  

Sophie mentions that it’s the first time they’ve used this set design in over 2 years.

Day 2 – Saturday 

Kicking off Saturday on the Morgan Automotive Stage was the reggae sounds of South Florida band ‘Artikal Sound System’.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band took to the JW Marriott Stage Saturday afternoon. 

ROW JOMAH, a pop/rock/fusion band from Dunedin, FL performs Saturday afternoon at the Ferman Amphitheater stage. Part of the GMF mission is to showcase local acts during the festival. And there was no better example of that then at the Ferman Amphitheater Stage on Saturday.

Next up on the Ferman Amphitheater stage was PUSHA Preme. Their song ‘Heaven At Night’ hit the top 20 on billboards complication chart earlier this year. They also were just voted best Hip Hop Act in this year’s Best of the Bay. Which makes sense, seeing that the amphitheater was packed and people were still trying to find a way to watch near the entrances. 

The Hip Abduction took to the Morgan Automotive Stage Saturday afternoon. The band is local to St. Pete and have a unique sound that is influenced by West African and Jamaican reggae.

Grammy nominated Electropop duo Sylvan Esso took to the JW Marriott Stage around 7:15, 15 minutes after their scheduled start time. But the delay only fueled the anticipation in the crowd. It was worth the wait, they opened with ‘What If’, ‘Ferris Wheel’, and ‘Train’, all from their 2020 album Free Love. This was likely the first time the crowd heard these songs live. 

The remainder of the set was a mix of hit songs from their Grammy Nominated album ‘What Now’, as well as more songs from Free Love.

In addition to the multiple stages of live music, the always popular silent disco was another option. With three DJs playing different music at the same time, it was like multiple shows happening at the same stage.

Indie Electronic duo Matt And Kim closed out the Morgan Automotive Stage. The set was a beautifully crafted mix of original songs like ‘Daylight’ and covers including DMX, Van Halen, And Lizzo. Fans at the barricade were buzzing and I overheard a woman say it was her 8th time seeing them live.  

Closing out Saturday at the JW Marriott Stage was the headliner of the festival, hip hop icon NAS. The entire crowd, which went as far as I could see, was bouncing and singing along to every word of every song. There were also a significant number of people watching from the balconies of apartment buildings and the parking garage across the street from the park. 

NAS didn’t leave anyone disappointed, playing hit songs ‘If I Ruled The World’, ‘The World Is Yours’, And ‘Made You Look’.

Day 3 – Sunday 

Keller Williams defines the Grateful Gospel as “The spiritual side of Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia songs performed in the style of black gospel music meant to be performed on a festival stage on Sunday Mornings.”  The timing was close enough as the Grateful Gospel took to the JW Marriott Stage Sunday at 4:15pm. 

MONDO COZMO closed out the Morgan Automotive Stage for the weekend, playing a mix of his hit songs, including ‘Shine’ and ‘Plastic Soul’.

Closing out the weekend was iconic rock jam band Gov’t Mule.

The setlist included ‘Traveling Tune’, ‘Stone Cold Rage’, and of course some Allman Brothers Band covers. 

The Gasparilla Music Foundation is a Florida 501(c)-3 non-profit corporation that organizes an annual music festival in Downtown Tampa and supports music education throughout its Recycled Tunes program.

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