Everyone we saw at Gasparilla Music Festival 2022 | Tampa
On Friday night, the smell of cannabis filled the atmosphere as gospel legend Mavis Staples joined psychedelic soul band Black Pumas on stage for a duet on “Dirty Dirty.” You guessed it: the annual Gasparilla Music Festival was held at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa.
Scroll down to see all the photos from Gasparilla Music Festival 2022.
For its 11th release, GMF has brought together around 45 to 50 different artists for its demographics to discover or rediscover. But here’s the thing: GMF isn’t like Glastonbury or Bonnaroo where you have crazy Foo Fighters or Beyonce-level headliners. Each year, GMF programs names which are not generally the favorites of the radio stations. When was the last time you heard Trombone Shorty on a radio station that wasn’t WMNF? How about Cimafunk? Margo Price? They are artists with more cult followings, rather than an expansive fanbase that ranges from casual fans to die-hards. For now, few Joe Schmos say “oh wow, Neal Francis is in town. Let’s go see it.
The line from the three-day event was “music festivals are about discovery,” and that’s by no means wrong. The offspring of rock and roll was off the chain, when John Fogerty’s children, Shane and Tyler, led Hearty Har, and the Allman Betts Band included not only the children of Gregg and Dickie, but on drums was Roy Orbison’s youngest, Alex. When local favorite Camille Trust did her soundcheck, people were still crowding around the Replay Guitar Exchange stage as her band strummed a few chords, and she filmed a selfie-style video for her Instagram story. And who knew the Black Pumas had never played in Florida before? The Grammy-nominated band made serious waves last year, at President Biden’s Celebrating America post-inauguration concert, so it’s no wonder sweaty fans draped in shirts promoting the band are seeing Black Pumas on the main stage as opposed to the middle of Kiley Gardens. Mid-size Morgan car scene.
Speaking of world leaders, we all know what happened in Ukraine last week, but GMF served as an escape from that harsh reality. There was a spectator there to remind us of our common humanity, none of the acts outside of Pinegrove evoked it. Overall, there was a complete lack of distress, despite the fact that most FMG participants hold quite similar views – for example, not an eye rolled when the leader of Pinegrove, Evan Stephens Hall, was talking about climate change and America’s Democratic Socialists. Same deal with Arrested Development and its Black Lives Matter flag on Saturday.
And while fans waited for the New Orleans spirit to arrive alongside Trombone Shorty on Sunday, Cha Wa brought it early Saturday (Mardi Gras weekend, mind you), not just during his set afternoon funky, but again for a second line pop up performance soon after.
Sunday apparently had the most diverse lineup: On the Morgan Automotive stage was former “The Voice” contestant Kenzie Wheeler, and for the kids, the Imagination Movers, who had a mid-to-late TV show. end of the years that served as Disney. more honest version of The Wiggles. On the Replay Guitar Exchange stage was Wahh World Fusion Band, who did an Indian jazz version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” at one point. Now that Ravi Shankar and George Harrison are gone, you don’t see many must-have sitars on American stages, so Rajib Karmakar sitting and playing outside – with the pop of Shankh Lahiri’s tablas – was a rare treat.
Then there was GMF’s only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
At 82, Mavis Staples is incredibly needed for a festival set in DeSantis-era Florida, not just because she’s a living legend.
“I hear a lot of people talking about taking our country back. How far? The 50s and 60s? she asked. “Leave me telya, I was there!” Believe me, she’s a fighter and no quite a force to be taken lightly.
As we all should be, Mavis is pissed that some government officials are trying to silence black voices, but she was otherwise cheerful throughout her performance. She led a single of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”, and after its opener “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)”, she grabbed a Liquid Death to swallow. “I thought it was beer!”
Mavis made guitarist Rick Holmstrom laugh. And because of the message in “Touch A Hand, Make A Friend,” a guy wearing a Grateful Dead teddy bear Hawaiian shirt officially became my best friend for the rest of Mavis’ set. Hey, Kevin.
And while Mavis presented her radical set, The Venus went half an hour through her own groundbreaking psych-rock set, all colored by the trumpeting of St. Pete-raised Jason Charos (who played on a Grammy-winning big band album last year). Soon after, a name that might be familiar in the year, Neal Francis, sent backline Leslie roaring into the sunset with a set of soulful, soulful indie rock.
It’s a hard truth to face, but at a music festival, you’re not going to get it all. While trying to hold back the tears during Mavis Staples’ set, there was also the sacrifice of missing Summer Hoop on the secondary stage. But at the very least, most of these side acts are locals, and GMF probably wasn’t the last we’ll see of anyone. Hell, we might even see Mavis again soon, according to her.
“You haven’t seen me for the end yet,” she told the crowd before leaving.
And as we sit and wait for next year, it’s hard not to feel like GMF pleaded forever this weekend.
Creative Loafing Tampa Bay’s request for weekend turnstile numbers has yet to be answered, but Friday night’s crowd was as big as the festival has seen on any weekend (my best guess, based on previous years, is 7,000 people on the first day of GMF 2022); for a brief moment outside, two lines ran the length of the 400-block sidewalk. Saturday felt like a sale (although a friend said he was able to buy a ticket to get in until 4 p.m.), and Sunday’s closing sets by Allman Betts and Trombone Shorty found people who hanging out dangerously late on a school night (how are you hungover everyone?).
Notably, GMF also started to age this weekend, especially with the additions of Peach Tree Rascals and Grouplove. If the festival can continue to feed Tampa’s growing population, it’s hard to see it not getting closer to selling out every night, every year. Organizing a festival is always hard work, but especially so for an independent non-profit operation competing in a world where the aforementioned mega festivals tip the scales in terms of who is available and how many festival actors get paid. For 11 years, GMF has been up to the task, from its purchase of taste-making talent to its near-flawless execution of hospitality for artists and attendees.
We’re all looking forward to next year, that’s for sure, but hopefully GMF can continue to grow for many years after that.