Two very different Tampa festivals draw from a wide-spanning pool of music listeners with aesthetics that are poles apart, and both hit the city at once this weekend.
Funk Fest throws down at Curtis Hixon, bringing the old school back and adding a little modern flavor in two days worth of golden hip-hop, neo soul, slow jams, New Jack Swing, dance music and more. Friday features twin-fronted R&B group Jagged Edge, which issued early ‘00s hits like the wedding bell balladry of “Let’s Get Married,” and the bumpin’ dance floor anthem, “Where the Party At” featuring Nelly. Ace beat-boxing rapper/producer Doug E. Fresh and neo soul singer/producer Keyshia Cole also perform.
On Saturday, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam take it way back with their urban freestyle pop (“All Cried Out,” “Lost in Emotion”), followed by disco/boogie groove act SOS Band (“Take Your Time (Do It Right)”), and then queens of rap Salt-n-Pepa shoop it up and push it down. Finally, current platinum-selling R&B singer-songwriter, and record producer Anthony Hamilton (who produced a stellar track for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, “Freedom”) closes the evening. May 3-4, 5 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, downtown Tampa, $40 per day/$65 two-day ticket general; reserved and VIP options also available, funkfestconcerts.com/tampa.
Many miles away, the inaugural Funshine Festival overtakes the Florida State Fairgrounds and Live Nation Amphitheatre, offering daily ticket prices that include unlimited access to more than 60 midway rides along with admission to see a genre-spanning lineup of live entertainment. Families are welcome to come out and enjoy it all, and there’s bound to be something for everyone on the four stages of music that spread from the concourse into the amphitheater and Expo Hall.
The lineup is ridiculous — the bands take up a paragraph all on their own. But, Friday’s highlights include a headlining set by Billy Corgan-led art-rock heavyweights Smashing Pumpkins, indie folk rockers Gold Old War, vet power pop outfit Cheap Trick, and a few of Tampa Bay’s own, Mojo Gurus and Have Gun Will Travel. Also performing: Train, Youngblood Hawke, Dead Confederate, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Phillip Phillips.
Saturday’s headlining stage is treated to the “Midwest Rock ’N Roll Express” tour with classic hard, progressive and easy rock by STYX, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent. On the other side of the grounds, bands purveying punk pop, emo, indie rock and pop, and other sounds of that ilk entertain younger hipper audiences with sets by New Found Glory, Chris Carrabba (of Dashboard Confessional), We The Kings, Bad Books (featuring members of Manchester Orchestra with Kevin Devine), and locals Tallhart and Alexander & the Grapes. Also performing: Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band, The Weeks, Pitbull Toddler, Hell’s Bells (AC/DC Tribute).
Finally, Sunday ends Funshine with some twang n’ drawl by Gary Allan, Kix Brooks and Josh Thompson, while radio hitmakers Tonic and The Wallflowers bring AC listening to the day’s sounds, and Big Sam’s Funky Nation adds a little brassy New Orleans funk. Also performing: The Lone Bellow, Bobby Lee Rodgers, Kirk McEwan Band, Dennis Lee Band, Sticky Fingers (Rolling Stones Tribute), Yesterday (Beatles Tribute). May 3-5, gates open at 4 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m. Sat.-Sun., Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, $25 per day general, $15 ages 6-11 (free ages 5 and under), $65 three-day admission (reserved seat tickets for amphitheatre shows and VIP packages also available), funshinefestival.com.
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