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BY HANNAH ELLIOTT, Robinson High
The first Gasparilla Music Festival last year provided people of all ages a day full of music, food trucks and sunshine. It was a hit that promised amazing years to come. Saturday marks the second Gasparilla Music Festival, and it has even more to offer.
The festival takes place at possibly the most beautiful spot in Tampa, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Kiley Gardens. With the University of Tampa minarets and the Hillsborough River sparkling in the background, few places offer such ambience and scenery.
The park will be set up with more than 16 vendors and four music stages. This year’s lineup is extremely strong, with jam-funk group the Meter Men accompanied by Page McConnell from the legendary band Phish and a personal favorite, Best Coast. For any high school kid who has just started spring break, Best Coast is that feeling of freedom epitomized in music form. California indie rocker Bethany Cosentino channels ’60s vocal vibes and combines them with catchy and beachy guitar that will make you feel like you’re in California (or maybe Clearwater Beach).
Just imagine them during the late afternoon set performing their cheeky beach hit, The Only Place as Cosentino sings, “Why would you live anywhere else? We’ve got the ocean, got the babes, got the sun, we’ve got the waves, this is the only place for me,” as the sun sets majestically behind the minarets and shimmering river. Wowza, right? I honestly cannot think of a band with a music lyric more relatable to Tampa Bay. Just anticipating Best Coast’s set during the sunset makes me thankful to be here, because I often forget about all the great things we do have, like the ocean, sun, waves, and even the babes, as Cosentino says.
If you haven’t heard about the bands playing Saturday, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go; it’s all about the experience. Being part of this progressive festival that is striving to breathe more cultural life into Tampa Bay and promote local businesses is reason enough.
If you are bummed about not traveling this spring break, head to Curtis Hixon Park Saturday. Once you hear the music flowing, you’ll be transported to another world, one that will feel much cooler than your everyday hometown. For details: gasparillamusicfestival.com.
Hannah Elliott is a tb-two* music critic.