Sunset Music Festival 2019 took place in late May at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The problem with it being late May is that most people are just getting back from EDC Las Vegas and it makes it almost impossible to attend both festivals unless you plan on raving back to back. Last year I decided to skip EDC Las Vegas ( I know… what was I thinking) and go to a festival I hadn’t been before aka Sunset Music Festival. The phase 2 lineup was announced and I was ready! The lineup consisted of Zedd, Kaskade, Said The Sky, Ganja White Night, Getter, Dog Blood, and many more. The list was actually very stacked; I wanted to see almost every artists on this lineup, so I definitely felt like I was getting my money’s worth. The venue consisted of 3 main stages ( 2 main stages in my opinion), 1 stage on each corner as if to make a triangle and then there was a tiny stage in the center of the venue which was called the Sunset Chill House.
The good news about the location of the venue is that there were plenty of hotels nearby which were all close to stores and restaurants; I was able to reserve a hotel only 2-3 miles away at a very reasonable price. Since I was staying nearby, my transportation decision was to call a Lyft there and back. Calling a Lyft there was easy.. the hard part was calling a Lyft back. The festival had a designated spot for Lyft pick-ups but the way it was organized made it hard for traffic to get through and those that waited for a Lyft were at the pick-up site for an hour. Instead of waiting an hour, most ravers just walked to their hotel, which turned out to be a 20-30 minute walk… so you choose your battles at this point.
How was security?
Changing topics….. lets answer everyone’s favorite question… “What was security like?” Security was very lax when it came to the pat down, what scared most people was the large amounts of cops and the dog that kept sniffing everyone on their way to the security line. I passed the dog, showed my ID, got patted down, got my bag checked, and then scanned my wristband. The wristband that everyone had on was the only way we could pay for anything at this cashless festival, so making sure we had money in it was crucial.
I checked the website and if you added $100 to your wristband, they’ll give you an extra $10 to your wristband which to me sounded like a deal. My rave fam and I all added $100 and this is where the problems began. None of their wristbands showed any money in it when they tried to purchase food or drinks, only my wristband had money… so I was paying for everyone until we got their money problems figured out. We headed to the help desk and they said that all their computers were down so we told them that we would return. We came back a few hours later and now they had trouble reaching the servers. My entire rave fam had no way of purchasing anything the whole first day of the festival. You wanted to buy merch????…. WELL TOO BAD!!! It’s 110 degrees outside, there’s hardly any shade at the main stages, and there’s no way of purchasing food and drinks. If it wasn’t for the amazing music, I would’ve just gone back to the hotel.
Just when I though it couldn’t get any worse, on my second day of entering the festival I get stopped at the ticket scanning area because my wristband doesn’t work. The ticket lady told me that someone called the company and told them that I never received my wristband…. (how could I have called when I was clearly inside the festival buying everyone’s food with the only working wristband in my rave group!). She understood that someone probably called pretending to be me and cancelled my wristband, but then I got concerned that all it took was someone knowing my name in order to cancel my festival wristband. Regardless, I was determined to have an amazing second day of the festival even though we arrived when the sun was down due to how hot it was… which resulted in missing so many artists.
Just when I thought my bad luck was over, I go to buy some drinks… and guess what?…. my wristband doesn’t work either! If I had to give this festival a rating, I would give it a 4/10…. 4 only because the artists that played there were amazing, everything else was chaos, wristbands that lost everyone’s money, wristbands that were getting cancelled, lack of shade, terrible traffic flow and organization, crazy amounts of security, bad cell connection, no contingency plan for servers and computers going down…. and to top it off… they charged everyone a $15 refund fee for leaving money in their wristbands that they couldn’t spend to begin with.
If you are going to Sunset Music Festival in 2020, please be prepared and stay safe because all of this could happen to you too.