A few busy weeks hasn’t kept me from wanting to share about my first Sunset Music Festival in the lovely Tampa, Florida over this past Memorial Day Weekend! So, let’s get to it >>>
I’m sure this isn’t a news update for anyone…but Tampa is HOT, HOT, HOT at the end of May! Temperatures were in the 90’s and didn’t cool off much at night. The festival did have 3 free water fill up stations. However, lines were long all of Saturday…they were much less Sunday. On Saturday, the lines were so long that I bought $5 water bottles multiple times instead of waiting because I didn’t want to miss whatever set I was heading to. I’m not sure if they added more staff/stations on Sunday, if there were less attendees, or if attendees were just less thirsty on Sunday but the lines were much better the second day. The main stage didn’t have much shade, other than the large VIP viewing and bar areas to the sides of the stage. Luckily, the other two stages had shade and some of my favorite artists of the weekend! There were definitely a couple of sets I decided to miss at the main stage because I wasn’t too keen on raging in the sun.
Music at Sunset was one dimensional, in that it was all “EDM”. However, there was soooo much diversity in the lineup! The main stage had most of the electro-house guys. The Horizon stage was my favorite because it offered a more atypical escape in the form of deep and future house DJs. The Eclipse stage was split: on Saturday, it leaned in the trance direction and on Sunday, it was decidedly trap and bass driven. Some sets that stood out to me were Galantis, Rezz, Claude VonStroke, Jauz, Anna Lunoe, Zomboy, Louis the Child, Jai Wolf, and Claptone. A pretty big list for a 2 day city festival!
The rest of the festival was pretty standard. There were food trucks in the middle, bars everywhere. I did get a kick out of Bud Light Lime being the main sponsor, which meant that the most economical drink to purchase was a 24 ouncer. Ya know what? It was so hot out, I did surprise myself by how refreshing those giant lime green beers were!
Unfortunately, you may have heard the terrible news that two lives were lost at Sunset Fest. While our thoughts are with the loved ones, I would like to point out a few flaws in the festival that could have possibly led to or at least not helped the individual situations. I have referenced the extreme heat and the long lines to get free water. Obviously, dehydration was a serious concern for festival patrons but some might push their bodies’ limits when faced with having to wait in a long line. Another issue that seemed to involve patron safety…the security checks to enter the festival. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the work security staff do to keep venues safe. However, I feel like this was the most ridiculous and illogical system I have ever experienced. Items that were thrown into trash cans by security included sunscreen (of varying sizes), travel lotion, chapstick (which was medicated and had SPF), inhalers, sealed water bottles (which were specifically listed as items that were allowed in the venue), and ALL make up items. I tend to side with the venues/promoters with overly conservative rules and regulations…I get it, there’s a lot that could go wrong at these events…but these stipulations seemed like they had more potential to harm patrons more than protect.