The Tampa Bay area builds community through music and more

Attendees of the Gasparilla Music Fest take part in one of the many side activities available for festival-goers. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/GASPARILLA MUSIC FESTIVAL

The Gasparilla Music Festival is an annual Downtown Tampa event which centers around music in a wide variety of genres. This year the music festival will take place from March 10-11.

Since 2011, the Gasparilla Music Festival has made an effort to not only provide live performances to the city of Tampa, but also highlight local restaurants and vendors for the event’s patrons to enjoy.

The organization takes pride in benefiting the Tampa Bay area supporting local musicians and businesses in the surrounding region.

A first year attendee Joshua Lowenburg, a sophomore majoring in engineering, is looking forward to his first year at the festival.

“I haven’t attended the festival before, but I’m excited to go this year,” Lowenburg said. “I’ve been meaning to go for awhile, but it wasn’t until this year I’ve been able to.”

The festival features over 40 performing artists from all around the country, Lowenburg has a lot to be excited about. One of the most rewarding parts of attending the festival for Lowenburg is that his favorite artists being right in his hometown.

“I’m most excited to see Father John Misty. I’m a huge fan of his new album, and it was such a nice surprise to find out he was going to be performing in Tampa,” Lowenburg said. “I’ve heard good things about Hard Working Americans too, they’re someone I hope I have time to check out.”

Besides music, the event also provides attendees with local cuisine and vendor services. Patrons of the festival will have options spanning all the way from donuts to lettuce wraps.

An annual attendee of the event, Guy Fisher, a freshman majoring in film and new media studies, always looks forward to the festival’s vendors.

“The vendors always give a lot to do in between performances and trying all of the different food is always fun,” Fisher said. “There’s always lots of activities to do for the younger kids, and anyone could just have fun walking around the festival grounds itself and seeing all the different things it has to offer.”

The festival prides itself on fostering a sense of community. Fisher always brings his friends along when he attends the event.

“I always try to get a group of friends together when I go to the festival,” Fisher said. “Going with a group of people that enjoy the same music as me really helps me appreciate the festival more. We bring out the excitement in each other.”

The Gasparilla Music Festival is also a large supporter of minimizing the normally large amounts of environmental issues that festivals may cause. Attendees are encouraged to utilize services such as Rent-A-Bike operations and travel buses to reduce air pollution and save parking spaces.

Streetcar services are also available, allowing festival attendees to park in Ybor City and ride the vehicle toward the event, sparing the hassle of having to park near the crowded event space.

Water taxis and street taxis are also available, allowing for riders to travel across the Hillsborough River or drive right up to the festival grounds.

The Gasparilla Music Festival takes the best of local music and cuisine and elevates it to a larger scale, allowing for a new and larger audience to take deeper appreciation of what has been hidden in their own community.