Funk Fest teaches Tampa a few lessons
After three years in St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, Funk Fest brought its old-school hip-hop, soul and R&B to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park last weekend, and Tampa officials learned a few things along the way.
"People do not like sound checks at 7:30 in the morning, and if you're going to get your get your funk on, it takes a little more bass than a regular concert," said Bob McDonaugh, the city's administrator for economic opportunity. "But it was very well-attended, people had a good time and I believe we'll see it next year."
The two-day festival drew 7,000 people to the park on Saturday night. Police kept traffic moving, said council member Frank Reddick, who helped recruit the festival to Tampa, and there were no arrests. Reddick, who attended both nights, said promoter Leo Bennett was pleased, and "from the e-mails we're receiving and the phone calls, people are requesting that this event come back to Tampa."
But on Thursday, City Council members offered one more suggestion: Please make those pre-event traffic alerts less apocalyptic and more clear.
Council member Lisa Montelione said she got four different advisories via social media, e-mail and the city's Alert Tampa mass-messaging service about potential traffic congestion in the central business district. Officials said the alerts came from the Tampa Downtown Partnership, the parks department, city transportation officials and police.
"I am not sure that is the best method to encourage people to come and enjoy the downtown when four different sources are telling you, 'Don't come downtown because of the traffic,' " Montelione said.
Council member Harry Cohen said the alerts didn't say what was going on downtown.
"They just said that it was going to be congested, so it actually compounded the problem," he said. "You could have had a gas leak that caused that type of alert. It may help to explain what the event is so that people have a little more information."
Council member Mike Suarez said the update was worth it just to hear McDonaugh — a business suit and button-down shirt kind of guy — say "Tampa got its funk on."
"I thought I was watching someone else," Suarez said.
"Don Cornelius, maybe," McDonaugh said.