Next Big Thing lights up Tampa

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photo courtesy 97X

W James

Panic! at the Disco and Bastille headlined this year’s Next Big Thing, a two-day music festival in Tampa Bay.

Next Big Thing (NBT) is put on by 97X, Tampa Bay’s new alternative rock radio station. The event was held at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Dec. 1 and 2.

“I’m going to get really sappy here, but I love NBT because there are few things that mean more to me than music and my friends,” senior Nick Martin said. “It’s a great place to spend the day enjoying the company of the people you love and losing yourself in great music.”

Saturday featured Andrew Mcmahon in the Wilderness, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Elle King, Lan with Bastille closing the event out that evening. Sunday featured more artists including Foster the People, Young the Giant, Chvches, AJR, Alice Merton, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Grandson, The Knocks, Flora Cash, Max Frost with Panic! at the Disco closing out the event’s last day.

“NBT came at the right time,” senior Adam Cruz said. “Hearing some of my favorite bands play songs that helped me get through high school gave me that push I was needing to get through the rest of the semester.”

The amphitheatre was broken up into two different stages: the main stage and second stage. The main stage was used for headlining bands and the second stage was used for some of the lesser-known bands.

According to sophomore Haley Parson-Castillo, NBT is an environment that helps encourage participants expression of themselves.

“Concerts are incredible for that feeling when you’re in the crowd and everyone shares a common purpose,” Castillo said. “Everyone there is in love with the music and you’re all on the same wavelength.”

According to lockedinmagazine, Assistant Program Director Jenna Kesneck said that NBT has been Tampa Bay’s way into bringing new musicians to their listeners over the past 18 years.

“Next Big Thing has been the perfect opportunity to connect Tampa Bay with some of the best breakthrough acts in the world and we feel privileged to have the opportunity to make that impact,” Kasneck said.

Music was not the only aspect of the festival, as there were several meet and greets with the artists, and there were also giveaways and raffles throughout the weekend.

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