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Big music acts coming to Tampa Bay with Big Guava

BY JAY CRIDLIN

Times Staff Writer

The hits keep coming. And coming. And coming.

Last week, concert promotions giant Live Nation announced plans for the new Big Guava Music Festival at Tampa's Florida State Fairgrounds, featuring a Coachella-like lineup that includes Outkast, Vampire Weekend, Foster the People and dozens more indie rock, pop and hip-hop acts.

Just a few hours later, Grammy-nominated pop queen Katy Perry announced a June concert at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Throw in the concert announced earlier last week by Luke Bryan and, well . . . if you're a music fan, you'd better start scraping loose change from your floorboard.

Most ambitious is the Big Guava Music Festival, May 2-4 on four stages around the fairgrounds, including two at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.

Outkast is the bill's biggest name by far; the reunited hip-hop heroes plan to perform at some 40 festivals in 2014, which amounts to their first tour in years. They'll arrive in Tampa less than a month after bringing hits like Ms. Jackson and Hey Ya! back to life at California's vaunted Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — they are, in fact, one of 10 Coachella acts booked for Big Guava. Other notable pop, rock and indie acts on the bill include Tegan and Sara, Cake, Slightly Stoopid, Grouplove, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, Haim, Twenty One Pilots, Earl Sweatshirt, Walk the Moon and Girl Talk.

It's an ambitious reimagining of last year's inaugural Funshine Music Festival, which mixed more radio-friendly acts (Train, REO Speedwagon, Smashing Pumpkins) with carnival rides, fair food and more. Funshine drew about half as many attendees as expected, prompting Live Nation to rethink how to aim for a younger, more culturally savvy crowd.

"I think that we tried to be all things to all people," said Live Nation Florida president Neil Jacobsen. "And as I visited festivals across the country during the summer, I saw what they were all about and what worked. This is the type of music festival that works."

Chuck Pesano, executive director of the Florida State Fair Authority, said Live Nation "doubled the budget" for bands in 2014; organizers hope to draw a three-day crowd of between 40,000 and 60,000. They may be on their way there; a limited number of $99 early bird tickets sold out in 15 minutes.

Three-day passes are $165 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. For details, see BigGuavaFest.com.

Big Guava may be the biggest show of the spring and summer, but it won't be the only blockbuster tour competing for fans' cash.

Luke Bryan, country music's reigning king of party music, announced he'll perform at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Sept. 26, and tickets are expected to go fast. Same with the Dave Matthews Band, whose annual trip to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre usually results in a sell-out. The jam-rock outfit will play two sets on July 16, one electric and one acoustic.

And then there is Perry, who is — according to Twitter, at least — the world's most popular pop star. She'll perform at the Forum on June 30. Prices and a public on-sale date aren't set, but the Roar singer will offer presale tickets to Facebook fans starting today.

Big music acts coming to Tampa Bay with Big Guava 01/15/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 2:37pm]
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