Weekend concert picks: Blake Shelton, Steve Miller Band, Avett Brothers at Gasparilla Music Festival

Plus: Gary Clark Jr., Steve Miller Band, Cupcakke and the end of the Florida Strawberry Festival, with Old Dominion, Keith Sweat, For King and Country and more.
Published March 6
Updated March 7

SPRINGING BACK: Gasparilla Music FestivaL

Break out the sunscreen and usher in festival season with Tampa’s best multi-day music event, the Gasparilla Music Festival, which serves up more than 40 local and national artists in Curtis Hixon Park. This year’s highlights go beyond your headliners, Americana all-stars the Avett Brothers, pictured, (9 p.m. Saturday) and guitar-slinging alt-bluesman Gary Clark Jr. (7 p.m. Sunday). Watch out for fuzzy alt-rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (7:15 p.m.) and White Denim (3:45), funk fusionists Tank and the Bangas (8), hip-hop group the Pharcyde (6:15) and chillwavers Toro y Moi (5:30) on Saturday; and New Zealand guitar-pop group the Beths (4:15) and Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real (5:15), who served as Jackson Maine’s backing band in A Star As Born, on Sunday. Plus: A smorgasbord of local food and drink for your noshing pleasure. Noon both days. $40 Saturday, $30 Sunday, $60 for the weekend. gasparillamusic.com.


God bless Blake Shelton, pictured, for compiling the best country tour lineup of the year. The country A-lister and onetime Sexiest Man Alive has taken it upon himself to educate the young’uns out there on their pappy’s old playlists by hitting the road with Trace Adkins (Honky Tonk Badonkadonk), John Anderson (Seminole Wind) and Pasco County’s own Bellamy Brothers (Let Your Love Flow). And for the whippersnappers, ACM-winning American Idol alum Lauren Alaina (What Ifs) is on the bill, too. They all take turns playing hits, with Shelton, a charming mega-presence in his own right, at the center. 7 p.m. Friday. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $45.25 and up. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.

LAST CROP: Florida Strawberry Festival

It’s the last weekend of the Florida Strawberry Festival, which means only a couple more days to stuff up on shortcake and Amish donuts. Oh, and there’s music, too! Thursday brings Christian stars For King and Country (7:30 p.m., $30) and oldie acts the Lettermen (3:30 p.m., $20) and the Kingston Trio (10:30 a.m. free). Friday brings harmonica-honkin’ Chris Janson (7:30 p.m., $30) and country queen Tanya Tucker (3:30 p.m., $30). Saturday gets hot ‘n’ heavy with R&B star Keith Sweat (7:30 p.m., $30) following a free local band battle at 3:30. And on Sunday, it’s songwriters Bill Anderson and Bobby Bare (3:30 p.m., $20) followed by one of the biggest new country groups in recent years, Old Dominion (7:30 p.m., $40). Gates open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with the midway open until 11 p.m. (2 a.m. Friday). Gate admission is $10 for adults, $5 ages 6-12, 5 and under free with paid adult. Midway ride wristbands start around $20. 303 N Lemon St., Plant City. (813) 752-9194. flstrawberryfestival.com.

HEAVEN SENT: Drivin N Cryin

With cover versions out there by Darius Rucker and Jamey Johnson, we can officially call Drivin N Cryin’s Straight to Hell a country classic, right? While the song may have outlaw overtones, it’ll do some good on Saturday at the Alzheimers Music Fest, benefitting the Dementia Spotlight Foundation. The Georgia alt-country veterans headline a bill that includes Sonic Stew, Solar Exposure, Stone Grey, Donna Hopkins and Zangaro. 3 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $30 and up. (813) 971-0666. skipperssmokehouse.com.

JETTING BACK IN: Steve Miller Band

You know them all by heart: The Joker, Take the Money and Run, Jet Airliner, Fly Like an Eagle and so many more. So if you’ve never seen radio staples Steve Miller Band live, now’s your time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (and deceptively respected guitarist; as a child, he knew Les Paul) returns at 8 p.m. Tuesday to Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $72.75 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.

LOCAL HERO: Blunts and Blondes

It’s always nice to see a local boy make good. After moving around Florida growing up, Michael Guard settled in the Tampa Bay area for college, and started DJing in clubs under the name Blunts and Blondes. Before long he was a resident at the Ritz Ybor, performing with the likes of Zedd and Steve Aoki and holding down its popular #Pound Fridays. Now he’s on a headlining tour with Subtronics, slinging bass across this great nation -- and returning to his old hometown stage. 10 p.m. Friday. 1503 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $15 and up. (813) 390-0397. ritzybor.com.

BACK UP: Cupcakke

There are a lot of reasons why it’s good to see Cupcakke in Tampa. The ribald Chicago rapper was supposed to be perform here on Halloween before canceling the show on short notice. Then in January, she was reportedly hospitalized after tweeting out suicidal thoughts (“I’ve been fighting with depression for the longest time,” she tweeted). She’s back now, though, and you can get a sense of why her music brings so much joy to listeners at 7 p.m. Friday at the Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15 and up. (813) 248-9500. theorpheum.com.