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Tampa’s streets pulse with funky jams

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Published:   |   Updated: May 3, 2013 at 10:45 PM
TAMPA -

The Funk Fest music festival wasn’t even in full swing yet, but Kimberley Deshazor was clapping her hands and waving her arms in the air.

“This is my first time here,” said Deshazor, of Lakeland. “I’m here to see everybody — all the acts.”

But it took her more than 30 minutes just to get into downtown Tampa on Friday, the first day of the hip-hop and R&B festival at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

“Traffic was really bad,” she said.

Congestion in and around downtown Tampa is expected again Saturday as the second day of Funk Fest kicks off at noon and showings of the Broadway play “War Horse” continue at the nearby Straz Center. .

Tampa transportation officials said they expect traffic backups on Ashley Drive and Tampa Street from 3 p.m. to midnight today. People attending either event should allow for extra time to get there and look for electronic message boards with directions for parking and other information.

Officials recommend that motorists heading to see “War Horse” park in the Poe Garage at 800 N. Ashley Drive or nearby uncovered lots.

City officials suggest that Funk Fest concertgoers park in the Fort Brooke Garage at 107 N. Franklin St.

Other garages near the two events include the Regional-Royal Parking Garage on the southwest corner of East Tampa Street and East Fortune Street and the Jackson Street Parking Garage on the northwest corner of North Florida Avenue and East Jackson Street.

Eventgoers also can use the HART In-Town Trolley, which is providing extended service today from 2 to 6 p.m. and 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. Riders can board the trolley at the southwest corner of Whiting and Franklin streets and at the Residence Inn at Cass Street and Ashley Drive.

Aaron Aydelotte said he lucked out Friday when he found a parking space a block away from Funk Fest and paid the attendant $6.

“This is an annual thing for me,” Aydelotte, of Temple Terrace, said. “I couldn’t miss it. This is our third Funk Fest.”

Aydelotte said that, because he’s a local, he knew the fastest way to get to downtown from Temple Terrace. He took Adamo Drive west to Kennedy Boulevard then got as close as he could to Curtis Hixon park.

“I took the back way,” he said. “It was no problem.”

Gates for Funk Fest open at 3 p.m. today and the show starts at 5 p.m. Scheduled to perform are Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, the SOS Band, Salt-N-Pepa and Anthony Hamilton.

“War Horse” has two shows today at 2 and 8 p.m. at the Straz, 1010 N. Macinnes Place. The Tony Award-winning play’s final show in Tampa is 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.


rreyes@tampatrib.com

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