A look at this weekend’s weather ahead of the Gasparilla Music Festival

Two weak cold fronts are likely to bring several rounds of rain.
The Allman Betts Band performs during the Gasparilla Music Festival at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in 2022 in Tampa. The weather was sunny that day, but rain is expected during the festival on Saturday and Sunday. [ Times (2022) ]
Published Feb. 15|Updated Feb. 15

The Gasparilla Music Festival, a weekend-long outdoor music event in Tampa, will likely clash with several rounds of rain anticipated this weekend, forecasters say.

The festival kicks off Friday, the sole day this weekend with little to no rain expected. By Saturday, two weak cold fronts originating from the Gulf of Mexico are expected to crawl across the state. The fronts are likely to bring multiple spells of showers Saturday and Sunday across Tampa Bay, said Rick Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office.

There is a small chance of thunderstorms, Davis said. However the weather service is not expecting any severe weather associated with the fronts.

“This is going to be a kind of messy system,” Davis said.

Related: Tampa’s Capitol Records star Aidan Bissett chats Gasparilla Music Festival

For those with tickets to the festival, running Friday through Sunday at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, know the show is still planned to run rain or shine.

There will not be refunds given if extreme weather causes a performance to be canceled, which was the case on one of the days in 2023.

“Last year it was so windy. I don’t believe that’s the situation this weekend,” said Gasparilla Music Festival spokesperson Michelle Gutenstein Hinz. “We really encourage people to come and bring their shiny, happy faces.”

Saturday will start out with a 30 to 40% chance of rain. From then on, rain chances only go up.

By the afternoon, Davis said there will be a 60 to 70% chance of rain. By Saturday night, when Young the Giant will take the stage to headline, there will be a 100% chance of rain.

The heaviest downpours are expected that night, Davis said.

Sunday will begin with a 60% chance of rain, which will slowly diminish throughout the day. Winds are likely to pick up slightly — up to 15 mph, Davis said.

“By Florida standards, this is going to be a pretty ugly Sunday,” Davis said.

The weather service is anticipating up to 2 inches of rain regionwide over the weekend.

Sunday will be the coolest day of the weekend, when temperatures will struggle to reach 60 degrees in Tampa.

The rainy forecast is a typical symptom of an El Niño winter in Florida, Davis said. An El Niño often brings a cooler, wetter winter to the South and a drier, warmer winter to the North.

The rain is likely to move out of the area by Sunday night, Davis said, leaving behind cooler, drier air for the week ahead.

“We will have a very pleasant week, most people will say,” Davis said.