Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hoobastank at Williams Park? Yes, it's true

Hoobastank, with guitarist Dan Estrin and singer Doug Robb, will do a gig at Last Friday, a new series that fosters a town square vibe.

Getty Images

Hoobastank, with guitarist Dan Estrin and singer Doug Robb, will do a gig at Last Friday, a new series that fosters a town square vibe.

ST. PETERSBURG — When the alternative rock band Hoobastank takes the stage at Williams Park this month, it will mark the first time a nationally known group plays there.

In its heyday, politicians and regional performers regularly visited the downtown park. But with Hoobastank, "Last Friday," the monthly concert series that began last month in the park, has booked its first big act.

To kick things off, the band's performance on Jan. 30 will be preceded by a long-awaited tree-lighting ceremony in the park.

"This is not about a concert; it's about a kickoff for downtown," said Kevin Lilly Jr., of LiveAlive Productions, co-founder of the concert series. "The goal is to bring back that town square element."

Did he mention beer? There will be plenty of it at the Hoobastank concert, as it is co-sponsored by Miller Lite. It is also being sponsored by radio station WSUN-FM 97.1.

While the event remains free to the public, this time tickets are required for entry. Tickets are available at several locations listed at and Already, more than 5,000 tickets have been distributed, though 10,000 tickets are being printed, organizers say.

At 6 p.m., Mayor Rick Baker will ceremoniously flick the switch on tiny lights on 30 trees in the park. The lighting, sponsored by Progress Energy, took months to plan and was long awaited by the group Friends of Williams Park, which came up with the idea to increase safety and appeal of the park.

Last month's Last Friday concert was a success, said Lilly. Though it was held a day after Christmas, 1,000 people attended, 35 VIP tickets sold at $50 each, and about $3,500 was raised for three charities that the concerts support, he said.

"It was very inspiring to see people buying VIP tickets to be in Williams Park," said Lilly, acknowledging that the park has in recent years gained a reputation as a magnet for panhandlers, the homeless and drug dealers.

It is that image that the Friends of Williams Park, an offshoot of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, is trying to combat. Although the Wednesday Midday Market may not have had much success — its future is now in question after all but six vendors bailed out — the Last Friday concert series, along with Art in the Park on Saturday, is being touted as an example of what works for Williams Park.

Lilly said he has obtained yearlong commitments from vendors and has established a plan to book three or four national acts at the park this year. Next month, a regional act will perform, and the theme will be Mardi Gras, he said.

At a meeting last week to discuss ways to use the park as a hub for the city's growing art scene, Ann Wykel, the city's art coordinator, presented a slide show of examples of "functional art" in the nation's parks. They included concrete-slab chess tables in New York City and mosaic-lined benches in Tampa. Future meetings will lay out a vision of what is needed, said Marilyn Olsen, president of the neighborhood group.

Among the 30 people at the meeting was Maria H. Rawls, a general contractor with Harvard Jolly architects and granddaughter of William B. Harvard, the noted architect who designed the Pier and the Municipal Pavilion and Bandstand in Williams Park.

Rawls said her family was deeply interested in the future of the park.

News researcher Will Gorham contributed to this story. Luis Perez can be reached at (727) 892-2271 or

if you go

Last Friday

What: Hoobastank, glowing trees, Baker and beer

When: 6 p.m. Jan. 30.

Where: Williams Park, between Fourth and Third streets N and Second and First avenues N.

Admission: Free, but tickets required. Check or

Hoobastank at Williams Park? Yes, it's true 01/17/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 17, 2009 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.