With two nights, nine stages and more than 60 musical acts this year's Tropical Heatwave offers the most eclectic mix of artists that's ever been in Tampa at one time. Ybor City will be filled with music Friday and Saturday nights as the 32nd edition of this musical festival offers just about every genre of music as well as some groups that defy classification. Where would one put Wolf Face, a punk band that dresses up like werewolves from Michael J. Fox's “Teen Wolf”? And then there's Beach Day, a kind of “Ronettes meets Black Lips” garage girl band while Uproot Hootenany is a five piece string band specializing in Celtic, roots, folk and bluegrass. And that's just three of the bands. It's impossible to fit them all in here so check them out at www.wmnf.org/heatwave/bands.
In addition to folk, rock, Americana, blue grass, rockabilly, country, reggae, punk, R&B, Latin, jazz, hip-hop, blues and funk, many of the performers fuse various genres. These “mash-ups” run the gamut from ingenious to weird. “There's no real big single headliner just a lot of outstanding local and national,” says Randy Wind, program director at WMNF (88.5 FM), the community radio station that runs Heat Wave. “A lot of the WMNF listeners are looking forward to Paul Thorn, who is a favorite,” says Wind. Thorn, 48, a former professional boxer who grew up in Mississippi, is singer/storyteller with a humorous touch. He has opened for major acts, has six albums to his credit, and a loyal fan base. Wind says this is the first time since the early 1990s that Heatwave has stretched over two nights. Most of the action takes place in and around the Cuban Club. “We had a good turnout last year but there were too many stages and it was hard to get around,” he says. “This year we have fewer stages and a light schedule on Friday to take the pressure off.” Heatwave started as a showcase for local bands with one or two major national acts. “But now we have a mix of local, regional and national groups,” Wind says. “A lot of bands want to come here and it's become a destination for music fans.” Among the local acts appearing are singer/songwriter Rebekah Pulley and her Reluctant Prophets, slide guitar man Sarasota Slim; rock 'n' soul band Nervous Turkey; folk singer Will Quinlan and his Holy Slow Train; high energy Americana duo Applebutter Express; jam band Cope; Mountain Holler (St. Petersburg Instrumentalist Mark Etherington), folk group Passerine and funky punk band Permanent Make-Up. Florida native and Tampa area favorite Damon Fowler will be performing along with Victor Wainwright and J.P. Soars in the fast-rising rock, soul and blues band Southern Hospitality. Some regional favorites are coming back like Orlando's rockabilly Rocket 88 and country rock band Whiskey Gentry. As usual there will food and beverage vendors at the event. New this year is Tampa's Cigar City brewed Tropical Heatwave Wheat Ale, a commemorative special edition. Also The Roosevelt 2.0 pub on 15th street in Ybor will feature local jam bands, the Sacred Sounds poetry troupe, musical improvisation and more from 2 p.m. Saturday until 1 a.m. Wind says it's possible to see at least 12 bands if you plan ahead and keep moving. TROPICAL HEATWAVE When: 6 p.m. Friday; 4:30 p.m. Saturday Where: In and around the Cuban Club, 2010 Avenida Republica De Cuba, Tampa and other locations in Ybor City including New World Brewery, The Crowbar, El Pasaje Plaza, The Ritz, The Roosevelt 2.0 Tickets: $20-$30 in advance, $30-$40 at the door, two-day pass $40 advance, $50 at the gate; $12 single-day youth ticket, $18 youth weekend pass; www.wmnf.org and (813) 238-8001 Other info: The TECO Streetcar will run from Channelside and throughout Ybor City 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday; 4:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: In and around the Cuban Club, 2010 Avenida Republica De Cuba, Tampa and other locations in Ybor City including New World Brewery, The Crowbar, El Pasaje Plaza, The Ritz, The Roosevelt 2.0
TICKETS: $20-$30 in advance, $30-$40 at the door, two-day pass $40 advance, $50 at the gate; $12 single-day youth ticket, $18 youth weekend pass; www.wmnf.org and (813) 238-8001
OTHER INFO: The TECO Streetcar will run from Channelside and throughout Ybor City 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.