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Photos: Sunset Music Festival goes hard till the end with Armin van Buuren, Porter Robinson, more in Tampa

"But first ... let me take a selfie!" The Chainsmokers performed at the 2015 Sunset Music Festival on May 24, 2015.

Luis Santana

"But first ... let me take a selfie!" The Chainsmokers performed at the 2015 Sunset Music Festival on May 24, 2015.

Breaking news! The Sunset Music Festival did NOT have to shut down due to weather on Sunday!

After evacuations in 2014 and on Saturday's Day 1 (click here for our full report), Day 2 of the 2015 Sunset Music Festival wrapped up with an explosive, exciting atmosphere on Sunday, as DJs like Armin van Buuren, Porter Robinson, DVBBS, the Chainsmokers and more performed for more than 20,000 fans at Raymond James Stadium. Plenty of revelers were there in their finest, weirdest attire -- and so was Luis Santana, who snapped a ton of photos.

Click the headine of this post for a slideshow of Day 2 at the 2015 Sunset Music Festival.

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Review: Rush turn back the clock on four decades of rock at Tampa's Amalie Arena

Singer Geddy Lee and Rush performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on May 24, 2015.

Jay Cridlin

Singer Geddy Lee and Rush performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on May 24, 2015.

It's a guesstimate, but scanning Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sunday night, I'd say a solid third of the sold-out crowd of 14,827 was wearing Rush T-shirts.

"It's not retro, it's original!" I overheard one T-shirted fan emphatically attest to another.

Who would doubt it? Rush's legendarily obsessive fans live and die with the band, and you just know many have a drawer full of faded tees back at home. Rush may not be cool, you see, but for 40-plus years, they've never gone out of style.

So it's no wonder they all lifted their lighters and roared with approval as the Canadian prog-rock icons walked back a four-decade career in what might be their final show ever in Florida.

This concept of this tour – likely their "last major tour of this magnitude,” the band has said – is endearingly clever: A career retrospective in reverse, starting with 2012’s Clockwork Angels and winding all the way back to 1974’s Rush. It’s an unraveling of who Rush is and how they got here, and why that matters so much to so many.Full Story

Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings storms, superstar DJs, surprise guests to Tampa

Skrillex performed at the Sunset Music Festival in Tampa on May 23, 2015.

Luis Santana

Skrillex performed at the Sunset Music Festival in Tampa on May 23, 2015.

Is Tampa's rave scene unkillable? At the Sunset Music Festival, it’s starting to look that way.

For the second straight year, severe weather forced Tampa’s rowdiest day-glo bacchanal to evacuate thousands of fans into Raymond James Stadium. For the second straight year, pretty much everyone complied with patience and good humor. And for the second straight year, the second the music resumed, so did the party, the mood barely dinged by the storms.

Rain or shine, Sunset just has a way of engendering positive vibes among all who pass through its sparkly neon gates. In its fourth year, the EDM festival keeps getting bigger and bolder, not only in terms of record-breaking crowds – around 27,500 on Saturday’s opening day – but with ever more ambitious stages, technology and star wattage.

The opening day of Sunset 2015 brought not only A-list headlining DJs Tiesto and Skrillex, but a couple of huge surprises – Colombian rock singer Juanes and Tampa’s own Hulk Hogan, who both held court on the main stage during a set by Cedric Gervais. Full Story

Photos: Before fourth anniversary, Ol' Dirty Sundays throws down at Crowbar in Ybor City

DJ Chuck Chillout pumps up the crowd at Crowbar for Ol' Dirty Sundays on May 17, 2015.

Luis Santana

DJ Chuck Chillout pumps up the crowd at Crowbar for Ol' Dirty Sundays on May 17, 2015.

On Sunday, Crowbar's weekly hip-hop party known as Ol' Dirty Sundays will celebrate a milestone: Its fourth anniversary. DJs Kon and Rich Medina will headline alongside residents Casper and Lesage, Blenda, Mega, Fader, Deacon and more, plus live performances by Tribal Style and others. There will be Jamaican cuisine and much more. Click here for details.

A week ahead of its four-year anniversary, Luis Santana checked out the scene at Ol' Dirty Sundays. Click the headline of this post for a gallery of photos.


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Festivals and forecasts: How do events like the Sunset Music Festival prepare for weather disasters?

Workers build the main stage for the 2015 Sunset Music Festival outside Raymond James Stadium.

Eve Edelheit

Workers build the main stage for the 2015 Sunset Music Festival outside Raymond James Stadium.

John Santoro knew nasty weather might force him to pull the plug on his biggest party.

"We're in Tampa," said the co-organizer of the annual Sunset Music Festival, a fluorescent carnival of electronic dance music that returns this Saturday and Sunday to Raymond James Stadium. "It just goes with the territory."

Still, safely evacuating a crowd of 20,000 is no easy feat, especially under the threat of lightning, high winds and quarter-sized hail. When storms forced Santoro to cut the power at Sunset '14, plenty of fans were initially confused. Many at the gate chanted profanities.

But by and large, the evacuation went off without a hitch, with no riots and no injuries. When the gates reopened shortly thereafter, it was like the party never stopped.

"It actually worked out to plan, and that never happens," said James "Disco Donnie" Estopinal, Jr., Sunset's other co-organizer. "People were very understanding, they went where we told them to go, and it worked out perfect."

For more of our story on festivals' weather preparedness, click here.Full Story

SoundBytes: Madonna, DVBBS, The Temperance Movement and more

-- If you had tickets to see Madonna at Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena on Aug. 29 and 30, bad news: The Material Girl has postponed those dates -- and others in Atlanta and San Juan, P.R. -- to January. Madonna's new Florida dates are Jan. 23 and 24. "Assembling all the elements will require more time than we realized," Madonna said in a statement. "I promise you this show will be worth the wait."

-- British blues-rockers The Temperance Movement will open for the Rolling Stones on June 12 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Click here.

-- Nashville Pussy and Valient Thorr are teaming up for a tour that'll hit Crowbar on Aug. 20. Tickets are $14-$16. Click here.

-- Singer-songwriter Noah Gunderson is coming to Crowbar on Oct. 17. Tickets are $15-$17. Click here.

-- This weekend's Sunset Music Festival has announced the headliners for its after parties on Saturday and Sunday. Destructo and Mija will take the stage at the Amphitheatre in Ybor City on Saturday, and DVBBS will perform there on Sunday. Tickets to both nights are $25 apiece. Click here.


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The Illusionists' Jeff Hobson and Dan Sperry talk tough rooms, gruesome tricks, the magic of magic and more

Dan Sperry

Photo by Joan Marcus

Dan Sperry

The Illusionists, coming to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts from Tuesday through May 31, brings together seven magicians from around the world, each bringing his own specialty to the mix. Show producers gave them each a name encapsulating their magic style: the Anti-Conjuror, the Inventor, the Futurist, the Escapologist, the Manipulator, the Trickster and the Warrior.

"We all are doing our A-level stuff every night," said Jeff Hobson, the Trickster.

"When the promoters put me on the flier, I was going for something different," said Dan Sperry (above), the Anti-Conjurer. "I didn't want them to say magician or illusionist because it would paint a picture, you know, the stereotype. It might not fit with their idea of a good time. 'We don't want to see a magician. We can just come later and see the band.' If it's Anti-Conjuror, they might ask, 'What's that'"

Tickets to The Illusionists start at $56. Click here for details.

For more of Robbyn Mitchell's interviews with Sperry and Hobson, click here.

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You're wearing what? The weirdest looks from last year's Sunset Music Festival

Body paint? Check. Lingerie? Check. Butterfly wings? Check. Rhinestone face stickers? Check. Brenna Crippen emerged from her cocoon ready to be seen and photographed. On top of her unique take on the festival directive to show as much skin as possible, she also has the necessities: shades, fanny pack and a million watt smile. It's go time.

Luis Santana

Body paint? Check. Lingerie? Check. Butterfly wings? Check. Rhinestone face stickers? Check. Brenna Crippen emerged from her cocoon ready to be seen and photographed. On top of her unique take on the festival directive to show as much skin as possible, she also has the necessities: shades, fanny pack and a million watt smile. It's go time.

This weekend's Sunset Music Festival celebrates EDM music, an artform that notoriously brings out the brightest, weirdest (and sometimes scariest) looks anywhere, ever. Flip through samples of styles our photographer Luis Santana spotted at last year's events.

[Related: After last year's Sunset Music Festival storms, safety is a top concern]

Can Sunset's fashion top itself this year? Rest assured we'll be watching. Check back this weekend to Soundcheck for more freaky EDM fashion. 

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This week in Tampa: Sunset Music Festival, Rush, Darius Rucker, Flo Rida, 97X Barbecue and more

The biggest musical event happening this weekend happens to be one of Tampa Bay's biggest musical events, period: The fourth annual Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium. The two-day affair is headlined by DJs like Skrillex, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren and Porter Robinson, but will feature dozens of DJs across three gigantic stages.

We've been previewing Sunset all week -- click here for our interview with Robinson, and click here for the Sunset Music Festival schedule and set times. And don't forget about the afterparties -- Saturday brings Destructo and Mija to the Amphitheatre in Ybor (tickets are $25) and Sunday brings DVBBS (tickets are $25). Click here for all the details on SMF 2015.

Even beyond SMF, it's a gigantic music weekend in Tampa Bay, with shows by Rush, Darius Rucker, Smash Mouth, Flo Rida, LunchMoney Lewis, the Jacksons, Cody Simpson, Brett Eldredge, Steve Earle, Paul Van Dyk, Brothers Osborne, A Thousand Horses, Firebeatz, Jackson Scott and the 97X Barbecue, featuring Awolnation, Panic! At The Disco, Robert DeLong and more. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...Full Story

97X Barbecue set times, schedule unveiled: Here's when to see Awolnation and more

This weekend is something of a festivus maximus in Tampa Bay, with three major festivals going on throughout the region: The Sunset Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday; the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival on Saturday; and the 97X Barbecue on Saturday.

Set times for each event have been trickling out all week -- here are Sunset's -- and today we have a look at the schedule for the 97X Barbecue at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. Here's when to catch everyone on the lineup:

8:35 p.m.: Awolnation (above)

7: Panic! At The Disco

5:35: Robert DeLong

4:25: In The Valley Below

3:15: Night Riots

2:05: Vinyl Theatre

1:15: Denim Blue/Keith McClain

12:20: Save The Radio

If you don't yet have your tickets, fear not: There are still eight free ticket drops between today and Saturday at locations around Tampa Bay, or you can always buy them for $20 through Ticketmaster.

Click here for all the details on the 2015 97X Barbecue.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Ticket Window: Zedd, Billy Idol, Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds and more

A short but sweet edition of Ticket Window this week, highlighted by a new show at the Mahaffey Theater: Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds on July 25.

Other concerts with tickets going on sale this week: The Hip Abduction (July 17, State Theatre), Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds (July 25, Mahaffey Theater), Billy Idol (Sept. 24, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Zedd (Oct. 17, USF Sun Dome) and Gino Vannelli (Dec. 3, Capitol Theatre).

Click here for this week's edition of Ticket Window.

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Porter Robinson talks 'Worlds,' his live show, writing new music and more

Porter Robinson

Girlie Action

Porter Robinson

North Carolina DJ and producer Porter Robinson has only released one new song since last year's acclaimed album Worlds, an icy, soulful remix of Nero's The Thrill. He frequently struggles with writer's block, and calls the high standards to which he holds himself "really, really frustrating."

"My approach is to always keep my standards just slightly above my level of ability," Robinson said in a recent phone interview. "Say that your level of ability is a 6. You'll write five things, and one will be a 6, one will be a 7, one will be a 2, one will be an 8 — there are these oscillations where you can exceed your level of ability through good circumstances or intense inspiration. My approach is to only keep the good stuff that I do, and not release music very often, and not accept stuff that I think is only at my level of ability. It needs to be better than I am."

These days, that's a tall order. Robinson is earning rave reviews for his live sets, which are frequently billed as "Porter Robinson Live." That's how he'll perform on Sunday in Tampa, when he headlines the Horizon Stage at the Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium. (Click here for details on the show.) …

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SoundBytes: Michelle Branch, Billy Idol, Nick Jonas and more

Michelle Branch

Reid Rolls

Michelle Branch

-- It's been a long time since Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Michelle Branch has popped up in Tampa Bay, and if you want to see her in June, you'd better feel lucky. Her June 1 acoustic performance at Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is open only to contest winners, 300 of whom will receive a pair of tickets through a Hard Rock Facebook contest. Click here for details.

-- Billy Idol is returning to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Sept. 24. Stuck in the '80s has the details.

-- Onetime Canadian teen idol Gino Vannelli is returning to the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater on Dec. 3. Tickets are $58 and up. Click here.

-- Squee! Nick Jonas is coming to Orlando! The former (and, well, current, we suppose) Jonas Brother will hit the House of Blues on Sept. 26, and tickets are $29.50. Click here.

-- New Jersey outfit The Everymen will open for The War On Drugs on June 15 at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa. Click here.

-- No bands have been announced yet, but early bird tickets are now on sale for the second annual River Rock Craft Beer and Music Festival, Nov. 7 at Water Works Park in Tampa. Get 'em for $25-$50.

-- Jay Cridlin

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K. Michelle cancels Friday's concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

Oh, those "unforeseen circumstances." They wreak so much havoc on our weekend plans. If only we could foresee them!

Alas, no such luck when it comes to K. Michelle's concert on Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The R&B diva has canceled that show due to -- you guessed it -- "unforeseen circumstances." The venue tweeted that full refunds will be given to ticket buyers.

For questions, contact the box office at (727) 791-7400. We foresee a lot of calls coming their way.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Sunset Music Festival schedule, set times released: When to see Skrillex, Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and more

Armin van Buuren

Armin van Buuren

The Sunset Music Festival is a dizzying spectacle of stages and EDM talent, and making sense of who to see and when can be a mystery. Finally, though, the festival has announced its 2015 set times and schedule, so you can map out an agenda when you hit Raymond James Stadium this Saturday and Sunday.

The Sunset Music Festival's schedule and set times were released over the weekend for all three stages: Sunset (the main stage), Eclipse (trance and bass) and Horizon (forward-thinking up-and-comers). If you want to know when to catch heavy hitters like Skrillex, Tiesto, Porter Robinson and Armin van Buuren (above), look no further:


Sunset stage: Tiesto (10:30 p.m.), Skrillex (9:10), Oliver Heldens (8), Cedric Gervais (7), TJR (6), MOTi (5), Mako (4), Peking Duk (3), John Anthony (2)

Eclipse stage: Astrix (10:45), Andrew Rayel (9:30), MaRLo (8:30), Solarstone (7:30), Arctic Moon (6:30), Mark Sixma (4:30), Jordan Suckley (4:30), Ferry Tayle (3:30), Morten (2:30), Luccio (2)

Horizon stage: Duke Dumont (10:30), Tchami (9:30), Destructo (8:30), Cashmere Cat (7:30), Bixel Boys (6:30), Trippy Turtle (5:30), SNBRN (4:30), Mija (3:30), Nasty Nat3 (2:45), Winta (2)


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