TAMPA — India’s version of the Oscars will come to Tampa earlier than originally planned.
Organizers of the four-day International Indian Film Academy Weekend & Awards are likely to move the party from early July to March or April so they can secure a venue large enough to handle the throngs expected to attend, said Santiago Corrada, president of Visit Tampa Bay, the region’s main tourism office.
“Volume has always been a problem,” Corrada said.
The festival is likely to draw up to 40,000 people to the main awards show and thousands more to parties around Tampa. Combine that crowd with the enormous stage the festival requires and the number of potential venues shrinks quickly.
The Forum was dropped because the sprawling stage – as big or bigger than the one used for last year’s Republican National Convention – would leave room for only about 9,000 people, Corrada said.
Tropicana Field can handle the crowd, but it’s already spoken for over the July 4 weekend when festival organizers originally planned to roll out their green carpet.
That leaves Raymond James Stadium, which accommodated close to 72,000 people when U2 played there in 2009, Corrada said.
But an open-air stadium in the Tampa summer is an invitation to a rain-out.
So the festival organizers are looking at the drier months of March and April to set a new date. They should announce their decision in January, Corrada said.
Tampa will be the first U.S. city ever to host the awards program, which travels the world from year to year. This year it was held in Macau on the southern coast of China. Other hosts have included Singapore, Toronto and London.