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Orlando Calling: Is a major music festival brewing up I-4?



Is this another reason we should all be concerned about Orlando drawing concerts away from Tampa?

On Tuesday, a press conference was held at Orlando's Amway Center to announce the development of a major new music festival called Orlando Calling. According to Orlando's The Daily City, the festival will take place Nov. 11-13 at the Citrus Bowl, and they're hoping to draw a crowd of more than 100,000. It would be Florida's largest fest.

The Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Weekly are both expressing healthy doses of skepticism about the announcement, which is probably the right move at this early date. But both point out that the man behind Orlando Calling is Melvin Benn of Festival Republic, which has produced some of the world's biggest festivals: Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds, etc. This would be Festival Republic's first American festival in a decade.

"A festival is an ever-changing event, year on year; it's not fixed," Benn says in the video above. "It requires development, it requires time to become part of an area's calendar. And that is very much my intention here in Orlando -- to create an annual festival each year, to take place during the Veteran's Day weekend, certainly the first four or five years." Benn said he hopes the festival will ultimately grow to bring in close to 75,000 patrons per day.

Okay, this is all a bit much to take in, especially since we don't know any of the performers, or even what type of music will be featured at Orlando Calling (though Benn intimated that local acts like Matt Butcher and Mike Dunn might be offered slots on the bill). What we know is pretty much what we've told you. Reportedly, more details will be available in April.

"It does of course remain to be seen who I'm going to put on," Benn said. "But I do intend to put all the major acts on that have become very much part and parcel of what my festivals have become. And believe me, the major acts are very familiar with playing my festivals, and very comfortable with their managers, their agents. They will have, I feel, a good deal of comfort in the fact that it is me creating the festival in Orlando."

Since there are no more details at this point, we'll put it to you: If Orlando Calling DOES happen, what bands or artists do you want to see on the bill? Leave your answers in the comments!

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 6:23pm]


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