Monday, February 19, 2018
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Guavaween music festival: Artists gearing up for Halloween fun

Just because Tampa Bay's biggest Halloween party, Guavaween, is changing from a parade to a music festival doesn't mean the party has to end. Quite the contrary.

Organizers of Saturday's inaugural Guavaween music festival have compiled a lineup full of energetic, party-minded artists, headlined by Brooklyn feel-gooders he Hold Steady. In all, more than 30 national and local artists will perform on seven stages around Ybor City.

To gauge their Guavaween enthusiasm, we spoke separately to a pair of singers about Halloween: Kalmia Traver of indie funk-rock collective Rubblebucket, and rising neo-soul artist Kendra Morris, a St. Petersburg native (her father is a tbt* graphic artist) who's playing her first local show since signing to New York label Wax Poetics. For more from both interviews, see tampabay.com/blogs/soundcheck.

Did you have a favorite Halloween costume growing up?

Traver: My mom made us the most amazing costumes. She's an amazing, amazing seamstress. One time, my sister was a slice of pizza, and my mom made a full, detailed pizza that fit around her whole body. She still has it — it's a big pillow on her bed. I was a mosquito one time.

Morris: About three or four years ago, I was poop. I was hot shit, with one of my best friends. We were lumpy and brown, and we wore these brown bikinis, and had brown beehives and glued pieces of corn and flies to our faces, and even created pantyhose logs around our stomachs. We drank out of plungers and had toilet seats around our necks, and we even had chocolate laxative and Nutella in our fanny packs that we would pass out. People didn't know whether to be disgusted or attracted to us.

Rubblebucket is mostly on the road during Halloween. Do you dress up?

Traver: We've always tried to do something. Last year, we were in Olympia, Wash. We were shopping at thrift shops the day of the show, spending more money on our Halloween costumes than we would on our normal clothes. Mine was the most boring, although it was funny. I just found this crazy huge shirt — it was like a Southwest print from 20 years ago, with turquoise triangles and purple and orange and it was really the loudest shirt I've ever seen. I painted my face and body to go along with the pattern, so I was the shirt.

Do you have a stance on "sexy" costumes? Sexy nurse, sexy kittycat, sexy undertaker?

Traver: It doesn't offend me the way it does some other people. Some girls really have been craving to dress like strippers all year, and they have their chance!

Morris: I love B-horror movies. I'm a huge fan of scary stuff. But Halloween is a chance to just be whatever you want out of the norm. And a lot of girls want to feel sexy. I do know from Guavaween, one year I was there, I saw some really bad things happen. I remember there was a girl that was so drunk, and she was surrounded by all these guys, and they were pulling her clothes off. She was on the ground, lost, crying and wasted, and everyone's cheering it on. I just remember being, "That's not right. Where's this girl's friends?" That left a really bad taste in my mouth.

Best Halloween candy to receive?

Traver: I'm not much of a sugar person. Never really have been. But we always go to Whole Foods when we're touring, and Whole Foods has these all-natural sweetened gummi bears that are gourmet and way too expensive, and I suddenly became addicted to them.

Morris: I have a candy problem, to this day. I like getting boxes of Nerds. I like getting the big candies, or the Twizzlers. I'd always get mad when you get raisins from a little old lady, or a penny roll, or an apple. You'd be like, "You're ruining my Halloween!"

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