Tampa’s Sunset Music Festival Cancels Day 2 Over Weather Warnings; Fans Upset After Skies Clear

Sunset Music Festival 2018
Courtesy of SMF, Photos by Rukes
– Sunset Music Festival 2018

Promoters Disco Donnie Presents and Sunset Events had to navigate swells of public outcry after authorities ordered the cancellation of day two of Sunset Music Festival in Tampa, Fla., only to have the tropical storm warning lifted as the day went on full of blue skies.

“When the Tampa Sports Authority, Tampa Police Department and Tampa Fire Department told us we could not open the festival, my heart was broken,” a statement from promoter John Santoro read on the festival website. “But you are my family, and as much as I believed it would be a beautiful day, I had no choice but to trust that the authorities knew what was best.”

“We had no choice when local authorities canceled the event for safety reasons. They receive warnings about severe weather and high winds. They gave us the warnings. They canceled the event.”

The event took place at Raymond James Stadium May 26 with Marshmello getting the top billing, but the shindig was called off May 27 because of concerns about approaching Subtropical Storm Alberto, according to the Tampa Bay TimesA representative for Disco Donnie Presents told Pollstar that “cashless top up” refunds are already underway for those who put money onto a wristband for cashless purchases, and more information regarding general refunds would be announced soon. 

In a scramble to try to get fans some kind of performances from artists like Excision, Illenium and Joyryde, EDM promoting legend Disco Donnie announced he was organizing events at local venues Channelside, The Drynk, The Ritz Ybor and The Orpheum.

Despite promoters’ efforts, fans took to social media to vent frustration at having the show canceled despite clear skies, and at the fact that the most packed aftershow, which featured Illenium, B2B, Ekali,

“It’s nice af out… horrible call by whoever made it. Should of been at least played by ear. Seems like a very rushed and bad decision at this point,” one user wrote on Disco Donnie’s Twitter page.

Still others on social media seemed to understand the decision was largely out of the promoters’ hands: “Some of you guys think SMF cancelled. If you read it wasn’t them that made the decision. It was tampa sports authority with the police department and fire department. I understand the frustration but the decision isn’t up to them.”

One theme in comments was that some who paid for airfare, hotel and other expenses in anticipation of the second day might still be eating losses after the cancellation.