Value is a word which captures consumer's attention in these uncertain economic times. “That's the whole concept behind the Funshine Festival,” Live Nation general manager David Harb says from his Tampa office. “We came up with this concept in which we give people, particularly families, the most bang for their buck.” Slated for Friday through Sunday, the Funshine Festival features live concerts and unlimited rides with up to 60 attractions, including the world's largest portable steel roller coaster, for just one ticket price. “When you look at the other festivals, like the [Florida] Strawberry Festival, you have to pay to see the recording artists and pay again for other attractions,” Harb said. “But that's not how it's done with the Funshine Festival. This is about family value. A family pays less to come out to Funshine than they would pay to go to the movies.”
General admission tickets are $25 in advance for adults ($30 day of show), $15 for children age 6 to 15 and free for children age 5 and younger. A three-day pass is $65. Reserved seats are $45 to $60 a day. And VIP tickets are $249 a day. Pop-rockers Train, “American Idol” alum Phillip Phillips, grunge pioneers, Smashing Pumpkins, pop-rock heroes Cheap Trick and such emerging bands as Good Old War, Youngblood Hawke, Dead Confederate and Roadkill Ghost Choir will perform Friday night. Classic rockers REO Speedwagon, Ted Nugent and Styx, emo vocalist Chris Carrabba, punk-pop act New Found Glory, singer-songwriter Kevin Devine, Bad Books, which features Devine and members of Manchester Orchestra, and newbies The Weeks, Tallhart and Pitbull Toddler will perform Saturday. Country reigns Sunday as Gary Allen and Kix Brooks co-headline. Pop-rockers The Wallflowers and Tonic and country singer Josh Thompson also will perform. The Lone Bellow, Big Sam's Funky Nation and Bobby Lee Rodgers will open. The festival stands out courtesy of its musical diversity. “We model Funshine after Milwaukee's 'Summerfest,” Harb said. 'Summerfest' is the nation's biggest festival. “We would like to have something like that for our area for years to come,” Harb said. A 100-foot ferris wheel, a log flume, a drag strip media slide and a myriad of other rides are featured along the midway. “The festival sounds awesome,” says “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips, who will perform at the fest today. “When I'm not performing songs from my album (“The World From The Side of The Moon”), I would love to get on the roller coaster. I love roller coasters. This sounds like a great festival and I'm glad to be a part of it.”
When/Who: 4 p.m. Friday: Train, Phillip Phillips, Smashing Pumpkins, Cheap Trick, Good Old War, Youngblood Hawke, Dead Confederate, Roadkill Ghost Choir
11 a.m. Saturday: Reo Speedwagon, Styx, Ted Nugent, New Found Glory, Chris Carrabba, We The Kings, Bad Books, Kevin Devine, The Weeks, Tall Hart, Pittbull Toddler, Hell's Bells
11 a.m. Sunday: Gary Allan, Kix Brooks, The Wallflowers, Josh Thompson, Tonic, The Lone Bellow, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Bobby Lee Rodgers, Sticky Fingers, Yesterday
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. Highway 301 N., Tampa
Tickets: General admission is 25 a day, $30 day of show; $15 for children age 6 to 15 and free for children age 5 and younger. $65 for a three-day pass; reserved seats are $45 to $60 a day; VIP tickets are $249 a day.