Gasparilla Music Festival shines through cloudy skies


Photo Lillian Martin

Father John Misty sings into the microphone with guitar in hand.

Lillian Martin, News Editor

Whether there’s rain or shine (literally), it seems as though there is nothing that can falter the good vibes that hail from the Gasparilla Music Festival (GMF). Held this past weekend on March 10-11, headliners and local artists alike did not fail to disappoint as the Tampa-favorite festival ran smoothly for the 7th year in a row.

Headlining band Spoon had to perform in rainy weather on Saturday, but that didn’t exempt them from putting on an amazing show. Despite the slippery stage, lead singer Britt Daniel kept the crowd moving all throughout their set, and even managed to jump around puddles (and consequently splash me in the face with rainwater) during their hit song “Can I Sit Next to You”. They performed better than I had expected, especially considering the weather circumstances and the crowd who didn’t really seem to know too many word to their songs.

The Roots, who you might know from The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, performed shortly after Spoons set, and were lucky enough to not have to deal with the cloudy skies. They were a little late coming out, but when I say it was worth the wait, I mean it.

It seemed as though everyone that was at the festival started moving and shaking along with their beats; I didn’t see a single person standing still. It felt special and somewhat unifying, and was seemingly an experience only the hip-hop band could provide.

As much as I loved dancing along with The Roots, singer-songwriter Father John Misty, also known Josh Tillman, is who really perfected the festival for me. All bias aside, he put on an impeccable show. Tillman’s humor personalized his performance in a way that the other headliners lacked, and his anecdote about being in a cult from 5th-7th grade, although random, turned out to be one of the most memorable moments at GMF.

The crowd sang along to the profound lyrics during the majority of the show, and swayed along to his guitar and piano ballads. Tillman sang each song so uniquely, making it hard to pick a favorite, but his performance of “Real Love Baby” stuck with me. His voice throughout the song made me wish I could stand in that same place forever. I can only hope to have another opportunity to see him live again.

While the performances were well above sub-par, the other entertainment and food available were not too far behind. For as many adults that could be found there, GMF was incredibly family-friendly. Hula hoops could be found in several spots, and instruments like bongos and pianos were out and available for anyone to play.

Grilled cheese, chicken and waffle sandwiches, and cookie dough were some of the most popular food options, and not just for kids. Prices ranged from $5 to $15, and there was a plethora of things to choose from including vegan and gluten free options.

With the combination of impressive performances and an appreciable amount of things to do in between sets, I had a memorable time. The festival runs annually during the second weekend of March every year, and there’s no doubt that I’ll be in attendance next year.