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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay concert series to open with Phillip Phillips, Parmalee

Headliners at the Food & Wine Festival include Sugar Ray, Sister Hazel and country pop star Dylan Scott.
Platinum selling artist Phillip Phillips will kick off the concert series for the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival.
Platinum selling artist Phillip Phillips will kick off the concert series for the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival. [ INTERSCOPE | Jesse DeFlorio ]
Published Feb. 25
Updated Feb. 25

Busch Gardens has already opened its sixth Food & Wine Festival, and starting in March, live musical entertainment will perform on the festival stage — its first attempt at concerts since the coronavirus shut down Florida’s theme parks last year.

On Thursday, the Tampa theme park announced that platinum-selling artist Phillip Phillips, whose hit single Home served as a theme song for the 2012 Summer Olympics, will perform March 6. And country’s platinum-selling band of brothers Parmalee will play March 13.

Other artists in the lineup include country pop star Dylan Scott (March 20), classic rockers 38 Special (March 27), ‘90s pop act Sugar Ray (April 2), Gainesville-born alt-rockers Sister Hazel (April 3), country rock duo Locash (April 10), salsa singer Tito Nieves (April 17) and Starship featuring Mickey Thomas (April 24).

Southern rockers 38 Special will perform at the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival on March 27.
Southern rockers 38 Special will perform at the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival on March 27. [ RUTH ECKERD HALL | Ruth Eckerd Hall ]

For the first time, concerts will be offered at two limited-capacity performances each day on the Festival Field Stage. Over at the Coke Canopy, local artists will play live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the festival, which runs weekends through April 25.

Headliners will perform at 5 and 7 p.m. on the outdoor stage near the expansive field next to the Iron Gwazi coaster with modified seating to allow for physical distancing.

Related: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay adds more plates to Food & Wine Festival

The annual festival of small plates, wines, beer and cocktails had to shut down after a few weeks last year when COVID-19 closed all of Florida’s theme parks March 15. But it returned this week, and this year’s festival has added more dishes and drinks to choose from while imposing coronavirus protocols.

Starting in March, live musical entertainment will perform on the festival stage at Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival — the first attempt at live headlining concerts since COVID-19 shut down Florida’s theme parks last March.
Starting in March, live musical entertainment will perform on the festival stage at Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival — the first attempt at live headlining concerts since COVID-19 shut down Florida’s theme parks last March. [ Busch Gardens ]

In total, 24 culinary cabins offer more than 110 appetizer-sized dishes and drinks to sample, 22 of them new items. Park reservations are required, even for pass members and Fun Card holders. Temperatures are checked at the entrance and masks are required, except when eating or drinking. High-top tables are set up more than 6 feet apart in the festival area.

The festival opens at noon Fridays through Sundays now through April 25. More information, including a menu guide, is available on the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay website at buschgardens.com.