Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Funk Fest is moving from St. Pete to Tampa


When Funk Fest, a two-day celebration of old-school hip-hop, soul and R&B music, decided to move from St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park across the bay to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, it was a big deal for both cities.

"Frankly, we hated to see them leave," said Clarence Scott, St. Petersburg's leisure and community services administrator.

The concert had drawn daily crowds of 4,000 to 6,000 to Vinoy Park the last few years, and the city had a good working relationship with promoter Leo Bennett, who had made a number of logistical improvements to the festival.

But for Bennett, the 11.6 acres at Vinoy Park was not a good fit.

"That's really what it came down to," said Bennett, whose Charlotte, N.C., company promotes similar festivals in Orlando, Jacksonville and Atlanta. "The numbers that we were getting and the cost of the park, it just didn't make sense."

That's where Tampa and its 8 acres at Curtis Hixon Park came in.

"I was looking to find a way to bring some type of major entertainment that could draw African-Americans to downtown, and I had heard through my discussions with people in the community that Funk Fest was leaving St. Pete," council member Frank Reddick said.

So Reddick said he reached out to Bennett and set up meetings with city parks officials and the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

"It was just a matter of people getting to know each other and making sure that the facility at Curtis Hixon will be able to accommodate that crowd," Reddick said.

Once officials identified an open weekend — May 3 and 4 — booking the event was a straightforward process, said Tampa parks and recreation director Greg Bayor.

In its new home, Funk Fest will feature Jagged Edge, Doug E. Fresh and Keyshia Cole on May 3 and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, the SOS Band, Salt-N-Pepa and Anthony Hamilton on May 4. Tickets range from $40 to $90 for a single day and from $65 to $140 for both days. Organizers expect about 5,000 people per day, and Reddick hopes for a good turnout of music fans from all over the Tampa Bay area and a lasting relationship between the festival and the city of Tampa.

"It would be great if there was a possibility of bringing it back for another year," he said.

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

Funk Fest is moving from St. Pete to Tampa 03/09/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 6:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Search for missing Army helicopter crew suspended in Hawaii


    HONOLULU — Officials have suspended the search for five Army soldiers who were aboard a helicopter that crashed during offshore training in Hawaii last week.

    Water safety officials hand over possible debris from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash to military personnel stationed at a command center in a harbor, Wednesday in Haleiwa, Hawaii, a day after. an Army helicopter with five on board crashed several miles off Oahu's North Shore. Officials  suspended the search for five Army soldiers in a helicopter crash during offshore training in Hawaii on Monday. [Associated Press]
  2. Rubio praises Trump for 'excellent' speech on Afghanistan


    Sen. Marco Rubio praised President Donald Trump's "excellent" speech on Afghanistan. Sen. Bill Nelson was less effusive but agreed with the goal.

  3. Gov. Rick Scott blasts report of shifting words on Charlottesville


    Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most scripted politicians in modern Florida history, said Monday that "both sides” bear blame for Charlottesville.

  4. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer


    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  5. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry


    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.