At the waterfront park behind the town’s famous Resort and Spa, the Safety Harbor Singer Songwriter Festival will give North Pinellas its first major concert festival that isn’t strictly a blues or jazz fest — a sprawling, eclectic three-day event with Grammy-winning headliners, food trucks, a fashion show and performance art that should appeal to music lovers of all ages.
Artist/decorating company Beautiful Streamers will provide their dreamy touches, and circus arts performers will twirl and defy gravity.
Not to be confused with the punk and hardcore-oriented DIY house shows, living room concerts are acoustic-oriented affairs with audiences that seek a quieter, more intimate live music experience than typically found in bars and clubs. Hence the name of venues that cater to these audiences, listening rooms, and the title of the multi-day event that brings a range of artists to private house concerts around the area in April — the Florida Listening Room Festival (FLiRF). The Listening Room Festival was founded and organized by singer-songwriter Fran Snyder, also the music entrepreneur behind ConcertsInYourHome.com, and in its third year, he introduces Office Concerts, a brand new performance concept held in conjunction with the 2014 fest.Ed Woltil, who’d just released his debut solo outing of warm and easy pop-and-folk-oriented rock tunes, Paper Boats. Woltil strummed and plucked melodies on acoustic guitar, his strong, lightly husky vocal quality reminiscent of George Harrison with a touch of Sondre Lerche sweetness as he shared anecdotes about his material and serenaded around a dozen of us with new tunes and old, like the math-meets-life ode “Algebra” and a few Ditchflowers cuts. He closed with a ditty by one of his early bands, Drive Thru Church. “I almost didn’t finish this song,” he commented about the nonsensical tune, “but it sprang out of my head and I had to get it out of my system.”
But make no mistake about it, the music is what draws the people. More than 9,000 local folks descended upon GMF last year, and this number will likely double as the not-for-profit grassroots festival expands to two days and offers even more in the way of high-quality food and musical entertainment for its third annual edition this weekend. A peek at some highlights along with a playlist, schedule and more info after the jump ...
One of these moments changed my life forever.
March 3, 1996, State Theatre in St. Petersburg. Headlining the bill was Tampa’s own Morbid Angel, a death metal colossus and the first extreme metal outfit to ever sign a contract with a major record label. Two prime purveyors of Sweden’s legendary “Gothenburg Sound,” Dissection and At the Gates, played in support. I was 15 at the time and though I was already a metal fan, this show transformed my interest into an obsession and introduced me to an underground scene I’d previously been unaware of, one that welcomed new converts into the fold with the sort of goodwill that seemed in direct contrast to the harsh and heavy sounds we all loved.