News from Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla.

Bullstock comes back to USF

USF Bullstock brings good music, good food and good vibes to Tampa on April 7, with bands Echosmith, Bishop Briggs, Bad Suns and the Griswolds headlining

April 13, 2017

Concert-goers work together to make this painting in the middle of the venue.

USF Week came to a close with a bang, thanks to the bright lights and the mellow music of music festival Bullstock on Friday, April 7. Headlined by pop-rock group Echosmith, the lineup also boasted singer Bishop Briggs, alternative band Bad Suns and indie rockers, the Griswolds, hailing from Australia.

It was made certain that nobody got too hungry between hours of chilled out mosh-pit-swaying – an array of eight food trucks waited within ear shot of the stage, giving tired audience members choices ranging from sugar coated mini donuts to cheeseburgers to Nicaraguan cuisine.

The concert also gave two local bands – Babyblu from Tampa, and Miroux from St. Pete – the opportunity to open the night, thanks to victories in a student battle of the bands competition.

Babyblu kicked off the tunes at 5 p.m. Highlights included Run and Parallel, which included a saxophone solo. While a jazzy brass solo may seem like a strange choice for an alternative music festival, saxophonist Treis Alexander’s playing melded perfectly with the dreamy vocals of a frontman who clearly has his ‘indie band aesthetic’ down.

Miroux, who have also won 97x’s Backyard BBQ local band competition, took the stage next, bringing rock guitars and raspy vocals in a set that included songs like Without You, which takes guitar pedals to a new level to create a musical experience truly fitting for a festival setting.

The sun still shining around 7 p.m., the Griswolds take the stage above an audience already fully warmed up by two amazing opening acts. The following hour performance does not stray – the crowd remained jubilant to the tune of Australian-accent-laced alternative rock. The laid-back, sunny set came with interceptions of banter between band members, including frontman Christopher Whitehall tossing a bunch of faux flowers off of his guitar and into the crowd, screaming “who wants to get married tonight?”

The best part of an outdoor festival is the feeling when the sun goes down, and this theory held up at Bullstock.

As some guy in the front row still grips protectively onto those fake flowers, the crowd shifts to the next stage as indie rock band Bad Suns begins a set of hook-heavy songs, including hits Cardiac Arrest and We Move Like the Ocean, which got the entire crowd singing. The sun begins to set a few songs in, changing the vibe of the crowd from a breezy casual sway to a full fledged wave of hands and bodies bathed in neon lights, and maybe in smoke too. You can never really be sure about that last part.

After the rush of almost touching Bad Suns frontman Christo Bowman as he stepped into the crowd, singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs took the next stage over. The jam packed audience began to get overwhelming, but Bishop Briggs’ airy vocals were just as enjoyable from the donut cart a few feet from the pit.

Around 10 p.m., headlining act Echosmith takes the stage, amid the screams of fans who had been anticipating the indie pop quartet of siblings all day. Vocalist Sydney Sierota leads the now huge, sweaty crowd to get off their feet, transforming the pit into a huge mass of jumping bodies, almost every single one of them singing along to the choruses as the band closes off their hit Cool Kids.

Bullstock’s lowkey, mellow approach to festival music was a perfect environment for anybody looking to chill out and enjoy some good songs. Every band in the lineup was guaranteed to get you swaying and waving your hands in the air – either in pure appreciation of the music, or just trying to get a perfect Snapchat video.

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