TAMPA, Fla — There are plenty of music festivals around but try to hit it out of the park quite like the Innings Festival.
“You can’t go anywhere else, besides Arizona where we do the other one and stand there and go watch a set by O.A.R., but turnaround and do a meet and greet with Ozzie Smith,” said Innings Festival founder Tim Sweetwood.
Tampa’s first Innings Festival is baseball-themed, coinciding with the opening of Spring Training. The Arizona version has been going on for four years. Along with the music, several former major leagues will be making appearances and there are baseball activities all around.
“I think it’s genius. Sports and music has been something that’s fit together for a long time. A lot of our friends who are athletes want to be in bands. And all the guys in bands want to be athletes. But we just weren’t tall enough,” said Richard On, guitarist for O.A.R.
Green Day and the Lumineers headline the 2-day event in the fields south of Raymond James Stadium. 311 is playing Saturday, I talked with the band’s bassist P-Nut while he was on his tour bus headed to Florida.
“We have intermingling audiences among all the bands. If you love music of the 90’s persuasion, you are going to have run into anyone of us. And to run into us all together is going to be spectacular. It will be a home run,” he said.
“This time we actually get in the night before so we’ll have time to enjoy the festivities and see all the bands we are fans of. I can’t wait to see Green Day. Those guys changed my life when I was a kid. So I can’t wait,” said On.
“There’s great events in Tampa, but this was a chance for us to have some major headliners like Green Day and Lumineers. And that’s where we saw the gap. Something where we could have those stadium arena acts but put them on the festival site.
Tickets are still available but will cost you quite a bit. Single-day pass tickets start at $130.21 (including fees) and go up from there. A 2-day pass will start at $225.18 and up.
Organizers said they plan on making this a yearly event.