The Gasparilla Music Festival (GMF), presented by SYKES, triumphantly returned this weekend, March 12th-13th, along downtown Tampa’s beautiful Riverwalk;Now celebrating its 5th season, the Festival has grown from four to five stages featuring over 50 bands representing all genres: Soul, Indie Rock, Jazz, Latin, Dance, Reggae, Kidsmusic, and a few that defy categorization

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Gasparilla Music Festival

Celebrates Its Victorious Fifth Season with Five Genre Busting Stages 

Photo Credit: Anthony Martino

The Nonprofit Music Festival’s Line-up Includes Representatives Stretching from The Top of the Scottish Highlands to the Depths of the Deepest Soul with Stops at Afrobeat, Folk, Indie Rock, Hip-Hop, Jazz, EDM, Pop, Bluegrass and more..  

Photo credit: Daryl Bowen
 
“Right now, in this moment, we have transcended race, color, religion, gender, size, shape, hair texture, technology. We are all one in the divine love.” 
   —Erykah Badu , March 12, 2016
(March 14, 2016— Tampa, Fl) The Gasparilla Music Festival (GMF), presented by SYKES, triumphantly returned this weekend, March 12th-13th, along downtown Tampa’s beautiful Riverwalk. Now celebrating its 5th season, the Festival has grown from four to five stages featuring over 50 bands  representing  all genres: Soul, Indie Rock, Jazz, Latin, Dance, Reggae, Kidsmusic, and a few that defy categorization!

Festival goers were treated to fantastic sets by not only the Mainstage headliners Erykah Badu and Stephen Marley but local favorites and new discoveries as well, such as the stunning neofolk of Ella Jet, and the Americana tinged charm of the The Hummingbirds.  From the deep jams of the Ries Brothers to the heavy hitting rap of Taleb Kweli, the sexy funk The New Breed Brass Band, to the rousing doo-wop rock of The Wooly Bushmen. The festival also stopped at the Neo-psychedelia of Futurebirds and included a layover with the Cajun rock of Sweet Crude. 
On Sunday McDill park was home to some of the best in Latin music with both local and international artists performing; from Havana – Carlos Varela, from Puerto Rico – Pirulo Y La Tribu,  Tampa’s hottest Salsa band – Sol Caribe and Larry Duran  “the Doctor of Vallenato.”
Continuing to break the mold of expectations, GMF presented a delectable array of food offerings from the best chefs in the area, no soggy corn dogs or stale pretzels to be found here. Instead: Grouper Sandwiches, Crispy Pork Belly, cornbread & Pickled apple plates, Paella, Monte Crisco Sandwiches, Chicken & Waffle Cones and more from such local favorites as: Big Rays Fish Camp, Buddy Brew, Ichicoro , Spain ,  Rooster & the Till, Anise Global Gastrobar, Cafe Hey Dochos, Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, Holy Hog BBQ, The Independent, Inside The Box Cafe, Fodder & Shine, Malio’s Prime Steakhouse. 
In addition to Music, Food & Libations, the festival continues to celebrate the Tampa community with activities for families, performances by local artisans, aerialists, crafters, dancers, drum circles, hoola-hoopers.  Local renowned artist, Terry Klaaren, live painted a project during the festival which will be auctioned off at a later date with proceeds to benefit the non-profit festival.
Early estimates by the Tampa Bike Valet show that over 700 people biked to the two-day festival – saving almost 20k lbs of carbon emissions and kept hundreds of cars off the road.  Tampa’s Whitwam Organics paired with GMF to assist in composting all food vendors’ food prep waste during the event, composting the waste at its farm in Seminole Heights to grow vegetables for local food banks. Last year, Whitlam collected over 200 pounds of compost and estimates an even greater haul for 2016.
GMF not only recycles to keep food out of the waste stream, the signature community outreach initiative, Recycled Tunes collects used musical instruments in exchange for tickets to the Festival. The collected instruments are refurbished by a local music store, Tampa’s own Don Banks Music, and then donated to local schools and other music programs to expand music education and arts. What better way to support artists than to help create and encourage new ones.
Emotions ran high at the closing of the festival , especially when the Channelside stage was transformed into a sonic temple of soul by Charles Bradley & his Extraodinaires. The ‘Screaming Eagle of Soul’, spread the gospel of love telling the crowd to “always remember… you are a flower of the Master” and to  “call your mama and tell her … you love her.” At the end of his set the nearly  70 yr old man climbed over barricades to shake hands and hug his fans. Grown men were sobbing in their beers as the powerful Bradley embraced them. The overriding theme throughout GMF was truly one nation under a groove. Come back for more fun and funk next year as the 6th annual Gasparilla Music Festival is set to take place March 11-12, 2017.
More Images from Gasparilla Music Festival 2016 can be found: https://goo.gl/1oFmwl

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About GMF 

GMF is produced by the Gasparilla Music Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In addition to the music festival held each year during the  second weekend of March, the foundation works year round to support music outreach and education initiatives. Its flagship program, Recycled Tunes, is now entering its fourth year of providing instruments to local schools. This past year, the festival announced a partnership with Little Kids Rock, a national organization dedicated to providing underserved schoolchildren across the U.S. access to fun, engaging, Modern Band music classes and brand new instruments at no cost to the students, teachers, or school districts.

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