Jan 6, 2023 - News

Tampa says Gasparilla Music Festival can't take place in Kiley Garden

Fans watch musicians perform on a Gasparilla Music Festival stage at sunset.

Fans gather for last year's Gasparilla Music Festival. Photo: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images

This year's Gasparilla Music Festival, slated for late February, must be relocated from Kiley Garden after the city found structural issues under the elevated 4.5-acre plaza at the base of Rivergate Tower.

What's happening: "Kiley Garden is currently unable to be used for the Gasparilla Music Festival due to water intrusion issues that have been identified through an exploratory evaluation," city spokesperson Lauren Rozyla told Axios Tampa Bay in an email on Friday.

  • "As a precautionary measure, the city is not allowing any events in the space until we receive full approval from an engineer to put loads on the top surface of the structure."
  • A GMF spokesperson couldn't be reached for comment about whether the festival could be postponed or called off, as of Friday afternoon.

The big picture: GMF started in 2012 with 6,500 fans and has grown each year since. More than 25,000 music lovers bought tickets to the two-day festival in 2021.

  • Two of the festival's four stages are on Kiley Garden. The festival's main stage is in the adjacent Curtis Hixon Park.

Context: Kiley Garden, originally part of the Rivergate Tower complex of buildings, was designed by architects Harry Wolf and Dan Kiley.

  • The design is based upon the Fibonacci mathematical sequence, whereby beginning with the numbers zero and one, each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. The plaza's checkerboard pattern of grass and concrete panels reflect the sequence.
  • The plaza sits atop a subterranean two-story parking garage.

Of note: Some early ticket sales to this year's festival have closed, but as of Friday, there was no way to buy tickets through the GMF website.

What we're watching: Tampa Parks & Recreation is working with GMF to find an alternate location.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.


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