TAMPA, Florida. – The Gasparilla Music Festival kicks off at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa Friday night. Headliners include the Black Pumas, The Revivalists, Band of Horses and Trombone Shorty. The three-day event isn’t just about the bands performing, the festival actually helps keep the music going year-round by providing instruments for Bay Area students.
A portion of the festival’s proceeds supports their “Recycled Tunes” program. The charity has donated thousands of instruments to schools in Tampa, with an emphasis on Title I schools.
The goal is to ensure that every child, regardless of income level, will benefit from a music education.
“It gives you a level playing field,” explained Camaya Cumberbatch, who received a bass from Recycled Tunes. “You can play more and not just once a week when you come to school.”
Fox 13 visited Shore Elementary School where nearly every student in Melissa Grady’s string class received an instrument from “Recycled Tunes.”
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“Instruments are expensive and we have a lot of families coming here with multiple kids, so being able to provide an instrument really helps the family,” Grady explained.
The program has created an impact that reverberates far beyond the classroom.
“Some even go to college because they had an instrument to practice at home,” Grady said.
“It helped me express my emotions. When we had problems, I always went to my room and played the cello,” said Olivia Dejesus. “It helps me feel more comfortable when I come to school because I already know, Oh, I fit in with my cello. Music has really changed my life.”
Learn more about the Recycled Pieces program at a booth at Curtis Hixon Park this weekend. There will be a children’s instrument zoo so that children can learn about different types of instruments. The Sunday afternoon lineup includes several kid-friendly acts, as well as young musicians.
LINK: Learn more about the Gasparilla Music Festival here.