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Strawberry Festival's replacement for Steven Tyler: Pitbull Toddler

The local rock band led by star radio personality Mike Calta will headline the main stage on March 3.
Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler arrives at the Hollywood Film Awards at the Palladium, in Los Angeles in 2014.
Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler arrives at the Hollywood Film Awards at the Palladium, in Los Angeles in 2014.
Published Feb. 20, 2019

If you were hoping the Florida Strawberry Festival might book a high-dollar replacement for its A-list headliner Steven Tyler, this might not be the news you were hoping for.

Pitbull Toddler, a local rock band led by Tampa radio personality Mike Calta, will fill in as the festival's headline act on March 3, the festival announced Wednesday. The news comes days after Tyler canceled due to "unforeseen circumstances."

We know what you're thinking, and you're right: That is quite a precipitous drop-off. Nothing against Pitbull Toddler, per se -- they play often around town, have a healthy local following and donate their skills and resources to plenty of charitable causes. They can play. But c'mon -- Steven Tyler? That's an enormous scarf to fill.

(And it bears mentioning that the three artists playing the matinee show on March 3 -- Terri Clark, Suzy Bogguss and Plant City's own Pam Tillis -- have all had nice, long careers of their own. It might've been nice to see them get bumped up to prime time, considering the fest has only one other nightly headliner who's female -- Martina McBride on March 4.)

The good news is, tickets just got a lot more affordable. Whereas Tyler was the highest-priced concert at this year's festival at $55, entry for Pitbull Toddler is free. So you can now spend your Tyler money on Clark, Bogguss and Tillis in the afternoon, then get a bonus concert by Pitbull Toddler at night.

The Strawberry Festival kicks off Feb. 28 with headliners including Willie Nelson, Alabama, Brothers Osborne and Old Dominion. Click here for details.

Contact Jay Cridlin at or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.


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