When I was prepping for Gasparilla Music Festival, I had no clue what to expect. I’m a very stubborn person when it comes to music. I used to think that my music taste was superior and nothing could compare. So when I was trying to listen to the GMF playlist, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to listen to music I didn’t know. Little did I know I’d leave the festival with a completely different perspective.

Walking into day one, I had no clue what to expect. I was nervous I wouldn’t even enjoy the event because of my inability to branch out. My sister and I walked around so nervous, not exactly knowing where to go first. We walked over to the only stage that had performers.

The first act I saw was a local Tampa band called Rohna. As soon as I got close, I got lost in the music. I seemed to just zone out and listen to their performance and soak in their stage presence. It was a small crowd of people rolling in at the beginning of the night, but it multiplied by the end of the performance. No matter the number of people, the band was able to engage the crowd. They had us bopping our heads to every song.

No worries beyond this point

Something I enjoyed about the festival was the lax nature of it. Festival-goers had the ability to bring chairs and blankets and just chill in the back. For people like me, it wasn’t difficult to get a spot at the barricade. Even then, we still had space to move around and we weren’t all cramped together. Being that close to these artists and not being stressed out was such a cool experience. Other festivals are overcrowded and create an almost unbearable environment. GMF did an amazing job at avoiding that.

my favorite performances

The Aces and Grouplove were my absolute favorite performers of the weekend.

The Aces reminded me of a mix between Olivia O’Brien and Hey Violet. They had more of an edgy take on love songs. Their lead singer Cristal Ramirez stole the spotlight during their set. Her voice was so captivating. I was Shazam’ing all their songs and adding them to my playlists. A good voice and love songs are my kryptonite, so they were the perfect mix.

Grouplove engaged with the crowd so well. They attracted a younger audience and it was a lot like the shows I’ve been to. The lead singers, Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi are married, and you could really feel their chemistry in their performance. My favorite part was when Haley told the crowd we had to chant “shoey” while one of the other band members drank a beer out of their shoe. Disgusting, but absolutely awesome.

My favorite picture from the whole festival: Grouplove performing on day one

the festival of discovery

Throughout the show, GMF emphasized that their program was a festival of discovery. That’s their reasoning behind the structure of the show. Most sets were scheduled around others so the audience could see every act without missing others. They also had events for children, like a table for tie-dying, and performances by Imagination Movers. They also had Silent Disco going on through the night. You could put on some headphones and dance like no one was watching.

I was able to walk around and get a taste of everything. Not only pertaining to the performers: it was also with food and clothing vendors. They had stands that served everything from Philly cheesesteaks to edible cookie dough. We ventured to check out merch and engage with small businesses that traveled to set up pop up shops.

my takeaway

Going in as a media person, I had to balance between appreciating the art and remembering to create content. I had to constantly remind myself that I needed to take pictures while fully immersing myself in the performances. But I left with a bunch of memories that will always stick with me.

This festival was absolutely unlike any other show I’ve ever been to. The event was built for any kind of festival mood. I was able to go from jumping around and going crazy, to chilling in the back of the crowd with a snow cone. There was no pressure or stress if I was going to miss one performance for another.

Thank you to Gasparilla Music Festival for letting Mic Drop Music have the experience of a lifetime at your music festival and the ability to share it with our audience!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.