Student music lovers might have a hard time making room in their schedules to see their favorite bands and artists. Luckily, Florida offers a variety of music festivals in the next few months – some featuring up to 75 acts to satisfy musical appetites over the course of one weekend.
Tomorrow kicks off the three-day Blackwater Music Festival at the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park in Seminole, with bands such as The Flaming Lips, Girl Talk, Pepper and Passafire. Singer and guitarist for the reggae-rock group Passafire Ted Bowne said even from the performer’s perspective, festivals are a great way to see a variety of acts.
“Festivals are always a lot of fun because there are usually a bunch of other bands that we like playing with,” he said. “It’s a treat for us to be able to see a show from the crowd instead of playing one.”
He also said the band’s set list will contain the best of their new album “Start From Scratch,” which will be released just before the festival, along with songs from their four previous albums.
As October rolls around, USF folk fans can look forward to a more intimate festival: Folkfest. The two-day festival in St. Petersburg on Oct. 1 and 2 will feature acts from around the country, such as Martin Sexton, Railroad Earth and Delta Rae from Durham, N.C.
Singer Brittany Holljes of Delta Rae – a group made up of six members, including two of Brittany’s siblings – said her band and the rest of Folkfest caters to those looking for a break from the mainstream.
“College students will find a lot to love,” she said. “Especially those who are looking for non-manufactured pop, or who would like to hear something other than the ever-pervasive, auto-tuned dance tracks that dominate the radio.”
Mid-October brings a musical commemoration of America’s first-ever beach party with DeLuna Fest in Pensacola from Oct. 14-16. With headliners like Weezer, Linkin Park, Matt & Kim and the Shins, the festival is sure to draw college students from all over Florida.
According to the festival website, DeLuna Fest is named after Spanish Conquistador Tristn De Luna, who threw a party once he made landfall at Pensacola Beach.
Sheila Kenny, the festival’s promoter, said the beachfront setting provides uniqueness unmatched by other festivals.
“The gorgeous beach location can’t be beat,” she said. “Plus, festival-goers can stay right on site, putting them literally minutes from their room door to standing with their feet in the sand rocking out right in front of their favorite bands.”
Just before Thanksgiving, the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park holds another eclectic fest, Bear Creek Music Festival, from Nov. 10-13.
Festival frequenter Emma Erickson, a senior majoring in environmental policy, said she’s looking forward to seeing acts Beats Antique and Zach Deputy. After discovering Beats Antique at Bonnaroo, Erickson said she fell in love with their “unique sound” and “bizarre stage performances.” Though she hasn’t seen Zach Deputy live, she has a specific reason for seeking him out at Bear Creek.
“One time I was camping at Suwannee and randomly stumbled upon their abandoned tour bus in the middle of the woods near the junkyard,” Erickson said. “I found a CD on their dash and took it out of curiosity and it ended up being their live acoustic CD. Also (I) took a purple velvet top hat. I’m excited just to see them live and maybe meet them and tell them the story.”
Erickson also said that she enjoys the diverse artistry of the festival scene – comparing it to Forrest Gump’s “box of chocolates.”
“You never know what you’re going to get,” she said. “You have a slew of expectations, and you know the experience will be an enjoyable one for sure, but you really have no idea just how amazing it will be until you find yourself in the thick of it all, biting into that weird-looking chocolate and finding yourself surprisingly pleased.”