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Threats Of Severe Weather Dampens Weekend Music Festivals

Jason Ohdagyo Fenmore/Facebook

Festival-goers packed away their fanny packs, bandanas and flags Sunday when both the Sunset Music Festival and Tampa Bay Margarita Festival announced the cancellations of the second day of activities.

Both fests were called off due to the threat of Subtropical Storm Alberto. In light of Gov. Rick Scott’s declaration of a state of emergency, officials with the City of Tampa and, in the case of SMF, Tampa Sports Authority, recommended the cancellations.

Social media posts from the SMF team stated, “Local authorities had already closed all other events planned for that day and SMF held out as long as I could, with fingers crossed and a heavy heart, but LOCAL AUTHORITIES cancelled our event as well.”

Both events took place despite the harsh weather conditions Saturday. Although both festivals said they were “rain or shine” events on their websites, Sunday’s forecast posed too high of a risk. However, Tampa's skies were relatively sunny for most of the afternoon.

“The threat of high winds presents a grave hazard for YOU, our fans,” the Margarita Fest team said in a statement. “YOUR safety and the safety of our staff/crew is our number one priority.”

Nineties alternative rock band Everclear was the headliner for Sunday night at the Margarita Fest, and Canadian DJ Excision was the headliner for Sunset Music Festival.

Both festivals will be refunding tickets— partial for 2-day tickets and full for Sunday-only tickets. Sunset Music Festival has provided steps regarding refunds on their website. Margarita Fest has yet to announce their refund process.

SMF held after parties in clubs across Tampa Sunday night featuring Zomboy and other DJs that had been scheduled for the original event.

Both organizations ended their official statements with hopes for the future, mentioning the continuation of the events in 2019.

Molly Urnek is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for summer 2018.
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