Let’s face it. Florida is far away from everything, and while several hotspots like Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Gainesville, and Tallahassee have always been home to blossoming, vibrant local scenes, the Sunshine State was always missing a big music festival to make it feel as special as Manchester, Indio, and Austin.
There are loads of smaller festivals to go to (The Fest, Wannee, and Blackwater, to name a few), but once both Langerado and Harvest of Hope had to call it quits, Floridians looking for a place to see an eclectic lineup of buzz bands, unknowns, and national headliners were pretty much stuck like chuck. Sure, electronic music fans have Ultra and Winter Music Conference, but where the hell are all of the rest of the hipsters, hippies, and music fans in general supposed to get their fix?
If Melvin Benn has anything to do with it, then they’re all going to the Orlando. Benn is the Managing Director at Festival Republic (the folks responsible for The Reading and Leeds, Electric Picnic, and Hove festivals) and has announced that The Citrus Bowl will play host to a three-day, four-stage, music festival in November of this year.
Benn – who also manages the Glastonbury Festival – says the event will run from November 11- 13 and will “bring a wealth of amazing talent to the Sunshine State.” Said talent hasn’t been announced yet, and whether or not Benn can fill the 50,000+ capacity venue remains to be seen, but this is exciting news nonetheless. The city’s local news outlets are reporting that Festival Republics’s first expansion to the U.S. is being dubbed “Orlando Calling,” and just looking at the 2010 lineups for both Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds is enough to get giddy about.
More information as it becomes available, but in the meantime start racking up extra shifts at work. Ticketing information isn’t posted yet, but we’re pretty sure this isn’t going to be cheap.
UPDATE: As has been brought to attention by several readers, the 5th Annual Bear Creek Music and Arts Festival in Live Oak, Fla. also falls on the same weekend as the proposed “Orlando Calling” festival. Live Oak is just a three-hour drive from Orlando, and while it may seem like a bad idea to schedule a new festival against one that saw its attendance grow to 7,000 attendees in 2010, Paul Levine – director of the Bear Creek Festival – welcomes the new festival and has made light of the fact that the two events cater to very different audiences.
“Orlando Calling and Bear Creek are apples and oranges,” he told CoS in an email, “Floridians and music fans are lucky to have such wonderful choices to make next November.” He added that his festival is a niche event that brings in less than 10,000 lovers of funk, jazz, electronic and most dance and groove music and says Bear Creek is an alternative to the huge diverse music festivals like Glastonbury and Leads.
“[Mr. Benn] has often mentioned that the American festival scene is practically void of any great large scale camping events,” said Levine, “Perhaps [he] is missing the point that many American’s prefer more intimate, smaller, and more focused gatherings where people actually get to spend time with each other and build a true community on a gorgeous site with friends.”