Listener-supported radio station WMNF, 88.5 FM, devised Tropical Heatwave as a fundraiser in 1982. The first one featured, according to the station's My-
Space blog, "seven local bands, silent films, mime, theater groups, clowns, jugglers, a light show and a Carmen Miranda look-alike contest."
Sadly, there is no Carmen Miranda look-alike contest scheduled for this year's Heatwave, the station's 30th.
Those attending will have to fill their time with the music of almost 60 performers — including headliner Cracker — on nine stages.
As always, the Cuban Club and adjoining El Pasaje Plaza will be the hub, but sets also are scheduled at nearby clubs The Orpheum, New World Brewery, Crowbar and Play, which will have outdoor and indoor stages.
Past Heatwaves have featured Bo Diddley, Marcia Ball, Brave Combo and Alejandro Escovedo.
The sixth Heatwave, in 1987, featured a dream bill of NRBQ and Sun Ra's Arkestra.
"That was the highlight for me," says WMNF special events coordinator Linda Reisinger, who has helped plan every Heatwave since the first.
"I was standing with Joey Spampinato (NRBQ bassist) watching Sun Ra, asking 'Is he taking us to another place?' That was the highlight for me," Reisinger says.
Reisinger deals with the behind-the-scenes stuff as well, last-minute cancellations being among the most nerve-racking.
"We work hard," Reisinger says. "The volunteers pull it all together. It's going to be wonderful."
TROPICAL HEATWAVE Concert preview
When: 4:30 p.m., Saturday
With: Cracker, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Peelander-Z, Those Darlins, Flat Earth Society and more
Where: Nine stages in Ybor City, including the Cuban Club, Crowbar, Play, New World Brewery, the Orpheum and El Pasaje Plaza
Cost: $30 advance, $40 day of show
Contact: WMNF, (813) 238-8001, or www.wmnf.org