33 Years of Tropical Heatwave! One of the longest running festivals in the country, Tropical Heatwave has become an annual rite of spring for fans of eclectic music, with excitement, mystery, and legend contained in memories of the annual extravaganzas for longtime Heatwave devotees. And every year there are first-timers who discover that Heatwave is one of one of the most fun weekends and best musical experiences they have ever had. The festival is often described as a manifestation and celebration of the sense of community that WMNF has created.
The Heatwave tradition of extraordinary and eclectic live bands continues this year with two nights, May 9 and 10. The festival layout is changing this year. The old courtyards at The Cuban Club and El Pasaje Plaza have been replaced with one big courtyard - the Cuban Club Mainstage - which will showcase top bands on both nights.The festival starts on Friday evening with three stages in and around the Cuban Club and New World Brewery. On Saturday the festival spreads from the Cuban Club area to include new venues on or near Ybor City’s main drag, 7th Avenue. These new venues include Crowbar, Carmine’s Courtyard, the Market on 7th, and the Orpheum. To help Heatwavers get from the Cuban Club to the Orpheum open-air Jolley Trolley buses will be traveling back and forth, stopping at all the Heatwave venues on Saturday evening.
The main criteria used for booking bands/artists for Tropical Heatwave has always been musical excellence, strong visual appeal, fun, and high energy. Each year, attendees look forward to not just a series of great performances, but also expect a fun and collective way to discover new artists who may have been playing in this area for the first time. Tropical Heatwave is also a showcase for great local and regional talent. WMNF deliberately handpicks great bands that are ready to compete for audiences with the nationally known acts.
With multiple stages, Heatwave ensures that each person creates their own unique experience. Some people hang out at one or two stages where they know some of their favorite bands are playing. Others try to challenge themselves to keep moving and see as many bands as possible. Some just go with the flow. It's like creating your own personalized festival.