Monday, May 21, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Wild Splash festival draws big names, big crowds to Clearwater's Coachman Park

The weekend has arrived.

It's the one weekend where Spring Break for nearly every university in Florida overlaps. It's also the weekend of local radio station Wild 94.1's annual Wild Splash festival concert.

This is not a coincidence.

By Tuesday, the show featuring rappers Wiz Khalifa, B.o.B, Rich Homie Quan, Sage the Gemini, Far East Movement, Kid Ink and Ty Dolla $ign had sold out of $35 general admission tickets. A week earlier, there were no more $100 VIP passes to be had.

The strong showing is a major win for the CBS affiliate station, especially since it did not host its other annual concert, Last Damn Show, at the end of 2013.

"It's always hard (to book hot artists), but we're lucky that our relationships stand up strong," said Wild 94.1 program director Orlando Davis, host of Orlando and The Freakshow. "There are labels who call us and inquire about when Wild Splash is happening. We also hear from artists who want to make sure they aren't playing the market, around the show, so they aren't excluded."

From those relationships, the station was able to put together one of the most party-friendly lineups they've had in years.

Sage the Gemini (Gas Pedal, Red Nose) recorded a remix of his biggest single with Justin Bieber, which had more than 1.4 million plays on YouTube. Kid Ink's big hit Show Me features the popular if controversial Chris Brown. Also taking the Wild Splash stage for the first time are Rich Homie Quan (Some Type of Way) and Far East Movement (The Illest), two acts with massive singles that explode in party atmosphere.

"This year is different because all of the newer artists are chart toppers, too," Davis said. "Then in a whole other stratosphere, Rich Homie Quan, B.o.B and Wiz have exemplified Wild's party vibe and diversity."

Headliners Khalifa and B.o.B are both Wild Splash alums who opened for other artists in the past. B.o.B played the festival in 2010, opening for dancehall star Sean Paul; and Khalifa came to town with mentor Snoop Dogg in 2011.

Clearwater's Coachman Park will be rocking from 2:30 p.m., when Ty Dolla $ign takes the stage until Pittsburgh's-own Khalifa comes out to close at 6:30 p.m. Bay News 9 predicts a beautifully clear 73-degree day near the Gulf of Mexico.

Davis said he's hyped for the show but he also can't wait to get on the other side.

"Honestly, there are two moments I live for: When we get to meet people who may never get the opportunity to break away from their daily routine, and they tell me how we spend 'our' commute together," he said, "and Sunday afternoon, when I check with all my staff and friends, to make sure everyone is safe, no one is in the hospital or jail, because when you move 15,000 people, things happen."

A sold-out show guarantees a massive crowd and particularly gnarly traffic on Drew Street starting at around lunchtime Saturday. You're not allowed to bring food or more than one sealed bottle of water with you, so bring cash for vendors. Chairs and blankets are also allowed.

Vendors will be selling beer and wine throughout the park, and a pirate ship sponsored by Monster Energy Drinks will be blasting EDM all afternoon, said J.J. Paone, who works in Wild's promotions and marketing department.

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