Tampa comes to life during National Championship weekend


Photo Isabel Hanewicz

Events like Playoff Playlist Live brought new energy to the Tampa area.

Leana Pustam, Perspectives Editor

Tampa is usually a city that flies under the national radar, so the fact that it hosted Alabama vs. Clemson College Football Playoffs National Championship with accompanying events marked a significant burst in excitement. There were three AT&T Playoff Playlist Live concerts to kick off the game: Brad Paisley headlined on Friday night, Flo Rida on Saturday and Usher on Sunday.

As for me, I immediately made plans at the mention of Flo Rida. He was my childhood favorite and I knew every one of his songs. The energy that the concert radiated in the normally quiet park was beyond my expectations. It was awe-inspiring to see so many people dancing with lights flashing everywhere, the bass booming, a live video of Flo Rida singing on the Rivergate Tower, and fireworks blasting noise into Downtown Tampa. It was one of the loudest and biggest events that I had ever seen at Curtis Hixon Park and it was by far one of my favorite events to take place in Tampa.

The other students at Robinson who attended one or more of these concerts were quick to agree.

“I went to the Usher concert,” Maxwell Smith (’20) said. “There were a lot of people there. The line to get in was excessive but it was still a lot of fun… It wasn’t just people from Tampa, there were a ton of people from both teams and that was really interesting. [I went] because the Flo Rida one looked really fun.”

Eve Iavarone (’17) attended the Flo Rida and the Usher concerts.

“It was really fun to get to go to Downtown with my friends,” she said. “These kinds of events just don’t really happen in Tampa… My favorite part was when Flo Rida picked up a child and sang to him from within the crowd…because how often do you see Flo Rida pick up a child from the audience and serenade him?”

A few lucky students got the chance to go and watch the game in person, including Alabama fan Amelia Hicks (’18).

“My favorite moment [of the game] was when Jalen in the fourth quarter ran to score their third touchdown,” Hicks (’18) said. “I have been a huge Bama fan ever since I knew what football was… The first thing I ever bought myself was Bama fan gear.”

The pre-game activities as well as the game itself were great in improving the vivacity of Tampa, and I can’t wait for the next big weekend of events.