Spring Break Changed In 2001
Tampa is filled with calls and texts asking where is the concert WiLDsplash? The short answer is our annual, spring break celebration is a show without a home. To understand why, you’d have to have all the backstory. The show that featured 50 Cent, DMX, and Lil Wayne, to Cardi B, Rod Wave, and Lil Baby was made possible by one man, Bill Horne. This incredible human began his 20 year career, as Clearwater City Manager in 2000 and opened a door for WiLDsplash. Coachman park was a home for oldies concerts, fireworks and jazz. That was it. Families and old folks. However, this new leadership wanted younger people enjoying the park too. I was invited to have a meeting with the city to pitch an idea. This all plays into the question where is the concert WiLDsplash?
Wait, we’re not talking Hip Hop?
The idea of us pitching was well received (by some) but other city staff started to bring in Source magazines and CD covers with artist holding guns. This wasn’t a great selling point for the Clearwater PD brass or many on city council. While we were presenting different artists from the worlds of pop, R&B and reggae, mostly this would be a hip hop show. We wanted spring breakers, who loved the culture, to feel this was their show. Bill Horne and his team wanted the same “but these guns, Orlando?” was asked a lot. It didn’t help that the first year was 50 Cent. The city council learned more about Curtis Jackson than they ever wanted to know. Bill kept a close eye on us but let us earn his trust also. I will always remember him for that courtesy. We gave Clearwater the biggest festival, in the state, for 17 years.
Everything Must Change
We lost Bill Horne in 2021. Coachman Park was being renovated but it was presented like it would be great for the city and WiLD. As completion of “The Sound” (Coachman Park’s new name) is approaching, it feels less great for WiLD but still good for the city. Chicago, Kenny Loggins, Michael Franti and the Goo Goo Dolls are all set to play. Really feels like more than Bill is missing from the new sound. We’ll see but while it’s a pretty space, communication about us returning is silent. WiLDsplash is a spring break party and the St. Pete Grand Prix keeps us from that option unless in May or June. That kills it’s essence. Our last show, at Coachman, was the Saturday before COVID-19 shut down the world the following Tuesday. I hate to think that was our last time but we’re trying to find a new home. A home for our WiLD fam and spring break visitors. We’ll let you know as soon as we do.