According to the WMNF website, Tropical Heatwave is now one of the longest-running music festivals in the country.
According to people who have been attending Heatwave since the early '80s, it's also one of the best.
The 2014 edition of the festival is coming up this weekend in locations around Tampa's Ybor City. About 60 bands will perform on 10 stages.
Among the headliners this year are the Hold Steady, a great and wildly acclaimed Brooklyn-based indie band whose songs often feature references to Ybor City, and Hymn for Her, a quirky duo who live on the road in an Airstream trailer. They describe their music as "punksy folksy airstreamy country bluesy."
Some other highlights: Manatee County's Applebutter Express, the post-psychedelic space-rock band Sons of Hippies, the Grammy-nominated local jazz man Dan McMiIllion and his High Octane Band and up-and-coming alt-folk-rock band Matrimony.
Even if you don't know any of the bands on the lineup, it's worth taking chance on Heatwave. The people at WMNF do a great job finding and attracting great bands that put on great shows, and part of what makes the event special is discovering music you might never have been exposed to.
The Cuban Club is the epicenter of the action, with three stages -- the mainstage in the spacious courtyard, the gritty cantina stage and the more formal theater. Other venues are an easy walk, within a couple of blocks, including New World Brewery, the Orpheum, the Market on Seventh, Carmine's and the Crowbar.
Details: May 9-10, Cuban Club, 2010 Avenida Republica De Cuba, Ybor City, and surrounding venues. Show times: 6:05 p.m.-12;40 a.m. Friday, 4:15 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Saturday. Tickets: $30 Friday, $35 Saturday; two-day passes $40 in advance, $50 at the gate. Information: 813-238-8001, www.wmnf.org/heatwave.