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).
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.
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.
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.