The eye-popping stages are going up, and fans are arriving in Tampa to pick up their tickets starting today.
That can only mean one thing: The Sunset Music Festival is almost here.
The annual electronic music carnival, which runs Saturday and Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, will feature a host of major names after dark, including Zedd, Kaskade, Zeds Dead, Illenium, Alison Wonderland, Flux Pavilion and Skrillex and Boys Noize (performing as Dog Blood). But if you're serious about making this a weekend to remember, you'll be hitting up the after-parties, too.
As veteran Sunset attendees know, the SMF after-parties are often where you can see big names in small venues, like Skrillex popping up in a club in 2015, or the Chainsmokers, hot off Don't Bring Me Down, holding it down in Ybor City in 2016. When last year's second day was canceled due to weather, half the festival moved to various clubs including the Ritz Ybor, which hosted Excision, Illenium, Alan Walker, Ekali and Bonnie X Clyde. (And it was somehow not the wildest party Bonnie X Clyde even played.)
This year, Sunset is expanding its after-party slate to include a Memorial Day pool party on Monday. But it also seems like other clubs are getting in on the after-party action, with several promising surprise sets from DJs most likely performing at Sunset. (And let's not discount the possibility of an unnamed guest who's a total surprise to everyone -- past Sunset walk-ons have included Juanes, Lil Jon and Hulk Hogan.)
Here's a guide to some of the bigger parties happening this weekend in the Tampa Bay EDM scene, including some after-parties, some competing concerts and more.
-- Sunset's official pre-party at the Ritz Ybor is free before 11 p.m. if you sign up for the guest list. The lineup includes Lizzy Jane, Bernz, Heist, OB7 and "special guests." Keep your eyes peeled. Click here.
-- If not for Sunset, the biggest Memorial Day party spot in Tampa Bay might be Shephard's Beach Resort in Clearwater Beach, which kicks off a weekend of parties with a headlining set from Vincent at midnight. Limited tickets are free through Friday, $15 after. Click here.
-- Australian producer Wax Motif, who is not on this year's Sunset lineup, has a show at the Kennedy, 2408 W Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa, starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 and up. Click here.
-- Shortly after playing the main stage, Illenium will race to the Ritz Ybor to headline Sunset's first big official after party, starting at 11 p.m. Tickets are $50 and up. Click here.
-- Shephard's Beach Resort has a more pop-leaning lineup on Saturday, with Jay Sean, Bryce Vine, AJ Mitchell, NOTD and more. Tickets are $15 and up. Click here.
-- Dirtybird DJ VNSSA is the big announced name at this "Secret Stash" show at the Attic in Ybor City, but organizers are also promising Ghosts are Real, Ronnie Lopez B2B with TechNeekz, a "super surprise guest duo" and another "super surprise guest," both of which sure sound like big-name Sunset performers. $20 and up. Click here.
-- For bass fans, rapper Jackboy is slated to perform late at night at Whiskey North, 11921 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Tickets are $25 and up. Click here.
-- Model, actress (Entourage) and DJ Kayla Collins will headline a daylong "Rose All Day" party at WTR at the Godfrey, 7700 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. Tickets are $10 and up. Click here and here.
-- L.A. promoters Brownies and Lemonade are throwing Sunday's official after-party at the Ritz Ybor, with Alison Wonderland and one surprise big-name DJ joined by Peekaboo, Holly and more. Doors open at 11 p.m. and tickets are $40 and up. Click here.
-- At Shephard's Beach Resort, 3LAU is the big headliner on a lineup that includes Lodato, Orange is the New Black actress Taryn Manning (huh?) and more. Tickets are $15 and up. Click here.
-- Fittingly named British dubstep DJ Trampa will headline a show on Sunday at the Cuban Club in Ybor City. Thief, Dropkick and Benzo are also on the bill. The show's at 10 p.m. and tickets are $15 and up. Click here.
-- Out-of-town visitors might want to stop by Crowbar's long-running Old Dirty Sundays series, which this weekend brings in headliner Statik Selektah along with DJs Casper, Deacon and Fader, plus live sets by rappers Mike Mass and Gat$. Tickets are $5 and up. Click here.
-- VNSSA returns with fellow Dirtybirder Hunter Reid in this "Sunday Service" event at NYKL, 4606 W Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa. It's free before 11:30 p.m., $15 after. Click here.
-- Cool down from a wild weekend with Sunset's first Memorial Day Pool Party with Gabriel and Dresden and Matt Zo and more. It runs noon to 9 p.m. at WTR at the Godfrey, 7700 W Courtney Campbell Causeway. Tickets are $35 and up. Click here.
-- Are you really sticking around Tampa that long? If so, you can always try to get into Ariana Grande at Amalie Arena. Click here.
Contact Jay Cridlin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.