Make us your home page
Instagram

St. Petersburg's Whigfest expands with more music, art

Surfer Blood is in the lineup for St. Pete’s Whigfest.

The Windish Agency

Surfer Blood is in the lineup for St. Pete’s Whigfest.

Tony Casoria tosses around the names of festivals like Burning Man, Bonnaroo and South By Southwest when talking about Whigfest, the music and arts festival he's co-organizing this weekend in and around Jannus Live.

It's lofty thinking. But the way he sees it, the spark is there.

At last year's inaugural Whigfest, some people took the name to heart and, without prompting, actually dressed up in period costume from the 1700s. Casoria said bartenders at the bar he co-owns, Mandarin Hide, will do the same this year.

"If you were a Whig back in the day, you were a badass, you were a rebel, you were a revolutionary," Casoria said. "Whigfest felt like a natural fit for the type of party we were having, and the type of vibe we were trying to do."

Whigfest organizers are doubling down in Year 2, expanding the festivals to two days, Saturday and Sunday, and bringing in some 50 indie rock bands, including national headliners Surfer Blood and Pinback and a top-notch lineup of locals. But they're adamant about not toning down Whigfest's whimsical, artistic attitude.

"St. Pete's very quirky, and so I'm trying to make art a big part of it, give it that self-expression element," Casoria said. That means making art and theatricality as big a part of the festival as the music, with art displayed around the festival grounds and live art demos taking place on the Jannus Live stage.

"Music's why everybody comes to these things, but I'm really connected to the art scene, and St. Pete has got such phenomenal artists, I wanted to make it a true arts festival," Casoria said. "A lot of festivals say they're about art, but I want to make the art as loud as the music."

That extends to the festival's branding. Last year's poster and graphics were created by St. Petersburg's Pale Horse Design; this year's, Bask. They already have a well-known local artist lined up for Year 3.

Casoria and Whigfest co-organizer Kevin Lilly have been building toward an event like this for years. In 2012, Lilly organized the Backline Music Festival with Tonic in St. Pete's Williams Park. The pair now co-run the St. Petersburg label Attic Records, as well as Rock Brothers Brewing, which has produced local band-themed beers.

Last year's event was almost entirely local, but this year they increased the band budget to boost their profile. "I think the top eight bands this year are bigger than the biggest band last year," Casoria said.

Whigfest is centered in a relatively compact footprint. There are two stages in the Jannus Live courtyard, and three more accessible only from the courtyard — Ringside Café, MacDinton's and Mandarin Hide. But if all goes as planned, Whigfest could expand to Williams Park in the next year or two.

"I want it to be a festival like South By Southwest, where people come in from all around the country, and there are 20,000 tickets," Casoria said. "We're trying to make this thing as big as it can get as quickly as possible, with responsible growth.

Whigfest

The music and arts festival starts at 1 p.m. Saturday (with headliner Surfer Blood) and Sunday (with headliner Pinback) on five stages in and around Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Venues also include Mandarin Hide, MacDinton's and Ringside Café, but entry is at Jannus Live only. Advance tickets are $20 per day, $35 for the weekend or $60-$75 for weekend VIP; day-of tickets are $25 per day, $45 for the weekend or $80 for weekend VIP. The festival will include a beer garden, St. Pete Indie Market and the vaudevillian variety show 20 Penny Circus. For a full schedule, see whigfest.com

St. Petersburg's Whigfest expands with more music, art 02/12/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 11:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 20 local museums are offering free admission or deals Saturday for Free Museum Day

    Visual Arts

    For all the community's support of the arts in the bay area, it's nice to be rewarded with free admission once in a while. And that's exactly what many area museums are offering on Saturday.

    The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is among the museums participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, offering free admission. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)
  2. OMD announces dates for extensive North American tour

    Blogs

    OMD fans have been waiting for this for a long time: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark has just announced a huge tour of North America set to begin in spring 2018. Three Florida stops are included in their road trip. 

  3. Saturday festival will celebrate the sweet potato

    Events

    NEW PORT RICHEY — It's harvest time for the sweet potato.

    MICHELE MILLER |  TIMESMore than 300 pounds of sweet potatoes have been harvested from local organic gardens for the inaugural Sweet Potato Round-Up and Fall Farming Festival set for this weekend in New Port  Richey. Those who go will be able to purchase sweet potatoes and get some hints on what to grow during the hot summer months, said Sylvia Spencer, shown here, manager if the Habitat garden as well as the Grand Garden Community Plot on Grand Boulevard.
  4. We Tried That: Can you throw a cocktail party for less than $25?

    Cooking

    Power drills scream. Rain drops fleck my skin, small pinpricks of cold. I hurry my 9-month-old puppy down the street as my neighbors screw plywood to their windows, preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irma.

    Today is a good day for a party.

    This Old Fashioned, made with Angostura orange bitters, is garnished with a maraschino cherry and a clementine twist.