Gasparilla Music Festival Is Returning To Tampa, But With COVID-19 Precautions
Patrons will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or show that they have been vaccinated. An increasing number of music venues and festivals are implementing these rules.
The Gasparilla Music Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend in downtown Tampa and is implementing COVID-19 safety requirements.
The three-day festival, taking place Oct. 1-3, features a mix of artists including rapper Nas, electronic pop duo Sylvan Esso, and Southern rock band Gov't Mule, among others.
Attendees ages 12 and older will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or prove that they've been vaccinated.
The move is in line with other recent festivals, such as Lollapalooza in Chicago and the Governor's Ball in New York City.
It does not violate the state's ban on vaccine passports because proving vaccination status is not the only way to gain entry into the festival, which is located in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and the neighboring Kiley Gardens.
Chad Moore is president of the board of directors at the Gasparilla Music Foundation, the nonprofit organizing the festival. He said he hopes the rule makes attendees feel more comfortable.
“We're obviously always interested in the safety of our patrons, and really artists wanted this as well,” he said. “It's just, I think, a good, reasonable precaution to take.”
Other venues around the greater Tampa Bay region, including the Straz Center and dozens of arts organizations in Sarasota, have adopted similar rules.
Organizers of the Gasparilla Music Festival are encouraging attendees use an app to show proof of vaccination status or a negative test, but people can also bring physical copies or show photos of their cards or test results. Photos of test results need to display the date and time they were conducted.
Masks are not required at the outdoor event but will be available on-site for those who want them.
"We're excited to help bring back live music to Tampa Bay and bring it in festival form," said Moore.
The festival has grown over the last decade from a single-day event to, for the first time this year, a three-day affair.
Moore said part of the festival's mission is to provide opportunities for artists from the Tampa Bay area and other parts of Florida to perform, in addition to the headlining acts.
"We've taken that to a whole new level over the 10 years," he said. "Every year we're adding more stages, more opportunities for local artists to shine, so that's really an incredible area of growth."
Proceeds from the festival fund a program called Recycled Tunes that is dedicated to supporting music education in the Tampa Bay area.
The Gasparilla Music Festival is a supporter of WUSF Public Media.