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. Culpepper falls just short on 'Survivor' finale

    Human Interest

    In the end, Tampa lawyer Brad Culpepper fell just short, and the ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer lost Survivor: Game Changers and the $1 million prize to Sarah Lacina, a police officer from Iowa.

  2. Families dispute claims that slain Tampa Palms roommates shared neo-Nazi beliefs


    TAMPA — Andrew Oneschuk never liked making small talk on the phone, his father said, but the last time the two spoke, something seemed off.

    Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman lived in a Tampa Palms apartment with Devon Arthurs and Brandon Russell. Oneschuk and Himmelman reportedly planned to move out.
  3. Brad Culpepper makes it to final 3 on Survivor, but jury picks Sarah

    The Feed

    UPDATE, WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Tampa's Brad Culpepper make it to the final 3 on Survivor, but jurors chose Sarah as the winner of the $1 million.

    Original report follows:

    "The Tables Have Turned" - Brad Culpepper, Tai Trang and Hali Ford on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment
  4. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
  5. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents


    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]