Do you smell that? The faint scent of spilt beer and not showering for days can only mean one thing: Festival season is upon us! And unless you have been living under a dead guy for the past couple of weeks, you should be well aware that the announcement frenzy has begun, with everyone from Coachella to Hangout releasing their epic, multiple-day, dream-inducing lineups.
New to the festy circuit this year is Big Guava in Tampa, a massive three-day undertaking that is helping put Florida on the map for festival seekers. Big Guava's inaugural lineup is jammed with goodness so tight, you might go blind reading the tiny print rows at the bottom. Big names aplenty on the bill, none are as talked about right now as Outkast, who is making news not only for refusing but for taking its show on the festival merry-go-round circuit hard. But there is one major issue for a South Florida music-head wanting to follow his or her beautiful Big Guava dreams: It's the same weekend as SunFest.
Just like Coastline Festival did back in November, Big Guava is providing a timely lineup of bands big enough to draw crowds but underground enough so that your parents probably never heard of them. They're offering crowd-pleasing goodies like craft beer gardens and food trucks with the added twist of unlimited carnival rides. So with an unpredictable lineup and historically shitty beer offerings, does SunFest even stand a chance?
But of course. SunFest might not have the epic lineup of your dreams, but it never has, and it's not about that anyway. It's about five days, yeah FIVE DAYS, of all of West Palm partying together and catching a real show at home. It's the only time we get legit, famous bands to play on Clematis Street all year. Yeah, Moonfest tries. Respectable Street does a great job. But none can come close to booking the huge bands that play the SunFest stage.
Big Guava versus SunFest is a tough decision, though, made exponentially more aggravating by the fact that SunFest has yet to release its lineup and chances are good we are still months away from the announcement. The obvious question here for a savvy concertgoer is how much Big Guava runoff will land in SunFest? Bands like Grouplove, Haim, and even Miami trio Jacuzzi Boys would all be a great fit for the West Palm bonanza, and lucky us, they will already be close by. Even Outkast could be a possibility. Hey, don't forget SunFest got Snoop! Only time will tell.
Still on the fence? We get it.
SunFest is more than the music; it's the party of the year if you're a West Palmer. If you miss SunFest, well then, a West Palmer you are not. The good news is there are plenty of other big-ass festivals in 2014 close enough to Florida and worthy of a road trip. Festivals in our neighboring states of Alabama and Georgia include Hangout, Shaky Knees, and CounterPoint. But if you're not a PBC local, then there's no reason not to make a Tampa trip instead of hauling to Clematis.
Festival season isn't all fun and games, and the decisionmaking process might be the most anxious step on the path to live music in and around your face. Whichever way you sway, we all come out winners.
Big Guava is May 2 to 4 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa. Three-day passes are $165 for general admission and $499 for Super Guava (VIP). For more information or to order tickets, visit bigguavafest.com.
SunFest is April 30 to May 4 on the West Palm Beach waterfront. Keep an eye on sunfest.com for the lineup announcement.