Last weekend I went to the first ever Big Guava Festival in Tampa, FL. Big Guava is a three-day music festival featuring some of the best acts in music today along with food trucks, thrill rides, and craft beer gardens.
Considering the festival fell in the middle of my university’s exam week (University of Miami splits exams over two weeks rather than have one cohesive exam week because we’re weird like that), I only went on Saturday. Despite the gloomy weather, I had an amazing time. Immediately upon arrival, I felt like I was at one of the state fairs I used to go to as a child. I definitely rode more than one ride throughout the day and enjoyed some gourmet mac and cheese from one of the various food trucks throughout the venue.
The line-up for Saturday (and the other days as well) was incredible. Unfortunately, as it is with every festival, I couldn’t make every set, but I was able to catch some amazing artists. I started out my day with some Miami locals that I was already pretty well acquainted with: Jacuzzi Boys. They did not disappoint, and their set left every dancing (and occasionally moshing). The highlight of their set must have been “Glazin” which was super high energy. I was excited to see that many people knew the words and were singing along.
A big highlight for me was seeing American Authors. I really didn’t know any of their music apart from hearing their single “Best Day of My Life” occasionally on Sirius XM or on commercials. They blew me away. Their set was super charged and the band had great chemistry. What makes this band stand out to me is how rhythm based they are. Pounding drums and strong bass lines drive every song. Almost every other band at the festival was melody based. Frankly that is the case of almost every other band successfully making music right now. I was very impressed and when I got home I downloaded their debut album Oh, What a Life. One of my favorite things about music festivals is the opportunity to discover new music so I’m really glad I caught American Authors’ set.
Over on the main stage, I caught Haim play for the first time ever in Florida. Their set was a mix of clean performance and straight up jam banding. It was really relaxed and fun. Este and Alana had some really cute and quirky onstage banter about who had the better side of the audience that kept the energy up for the entirety of the show. Haim has been on my list of bands I’ve wanted to see for a while and they did not disappoint.
Finally, around 9pm the headliners of the night, Vampire Weekend, came onstage. As expected, they were incredible. Everyone in the audience was up off their feet and dancing at least once during the show. Energy was soaring and even lead singer Ezra Koenig mentioned it when he noted “People crowd surfing during ‘Horchata?’ We don’t always get that. Only in Tampa.”
All in all, it was a great day, and I will definitely be back next year, hopefully for all three days, provided exams don’t get in the way.