Last fall, local concert promoter Tom Nestor announced a plan to purchase downtown St. Petersburg's historic YMCA building for $1.4 million and turn it into a concert venue, museum, event facility, arts education center and more.
Those renovations are a long way off — Nestor is still raising money to close on the property at 116 Fifth St. S — but they should get a boost on today thanks to A Slice of the 'Burg, a new arts, food and music festival headlined by funk legends George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.
The event is free (though donations will be accepted), but tickets are required to get in. You can pick up free tickets at St. Petersburg locations including Daddy Kool Records, Courigan's Irish Pub and Flippers Pizza, or you can purchase tickets at prices ranging from $5 to $125 at Ticketfly.com. A limited number of pay-what-you-can tickets will be available at the gate.
Conceived in part as a way to fill the cultural void left when A Taste of Pinellas announced its hiatus for 2013, A Slice of the 'Burg will now serve as a kickoff to a summer and fall concert series that Nestor says will allow his nonprofit group, Historic YMCA Inc., to purchase and renovate the property. (This month, YMCA of the USA sued the group, saying the name infringed on its trademark; Nestor said a new name will be announced next week.) He's seeking to raise $100,000 in donations and sponsorships.
Nestor said today's event should look and feel a bit like First Friday on Central Avenue, with Fifth Street blocked off between First and Second Avenues S. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, and there will be an art show inside the YMCA building.
So far he's given away more than 1,000 tickets, and he's hoping for a crowd of 4,000 to 5,000 throughout the day. "The number really is going to be limited to the fire marshal," he said. "If someone shows up at 8 wanting to see Clinton, and they don't have a ticket, I can't guarantee they'll get in."
The event will run from noon to 11 p.m. today at the Historic YMCA. A host of local bands are also on the bill, including the Black Honkeys, Save the Radio and Fall On Purpose. For the latest details, see asliceoftheburg.com.
Funk legend George Clinton is scheduled to perform, along with local bands.