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Big name concerts continue at Busch Gardens and Universal Orlando

There are several ways to tell that spring is in the air in Florida. The birds are singing, the traffic is horrendous, and every weekend there is yet another sort of festival going on! Busch Gardens® Tampa’s annual Bands, Brew & BBQ festival continues this weekend with Earth, Wind & Fire and Sugar Ray, while Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration rocks the house with live performances by alternative rockers Barenaked Ladies and country star Thomas Rhett.

Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras and Busch Garden's Bands, Brews, and BBQ feature music and fun!
Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras and Busch Garden's Bands, Brews, and BBQ feature music and fun!
Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Grammy-award winning Earth, Wind & Fire takes the stage on Saturday, Feb. 15. The legendary Earth, Wind & Fire spans the genres of R&B, soul, jazz, pop, rock, funk, disco and gospel with their music!

On Sunday, Feb. 16, Sugar Ray, featuring lead singer and multi-platinum album artist Mark McGrath, will perform some of the band’s biggest hits for thousands of fans. Also on Sunday, Gin Blossoms will perform some of their chart-topping hits.

The Gwazi Park stage sizzles with music throughout the day. Headline concerts start at 5 p.m. and the field will open at noon. The full concert area is free to guests and located just behind the Gwazi rollercoaster.

Now in its seventh straight year, Bands, Brew & BBQ is bigger than ever, filling every Saturday and Sunday through March 9 with an unlimited sampling of more than 100 specialty and craft beers, saucy barbeque from the bay area’s most popular restaurants and live concerts.

Guests can reserve the best seat in house for their favorite acts with the Bands, Brew & BBQ VIP Ticket. The VIP Ticket is $34.99 per person and includes priority reserved seating at center stage, plus an entrée platter and non-alcoholic beverage at any festival tent location OR an entrée, one side salad, side dish or dessert, and a regular-sized non-alcoholic beverage from any of Busch Gardens’ restaurants. The VIP ticket is available for sale online and in park at the Adventure Outpost store, located at the front gate.

With more options than ever before, the expanded Beer Festival will feature more than 100 imported, domestic and craft beers. Select brews are available at each of the tents along the Bands, Brew & BBQ pathway, as well as in Gwazi Park.

For those looking to sample several of the specialty brews, unlimited sampling is available from noon to 5:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday with a Beer Festival Wristband. Wristbands are $30 per person (ages 21+), or two for $50 for active Busch Gardens Tampa Pass Members, and also include sampling privileges at the Desert Grill restaurant, Crown Colony pub, Garden Gate Café and Zambia Smokehouse.

The festival also serves up a savory series of food tents, with Outback Steakhouse, Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, Penguin Pretzel Factory and local favorite Kojak’s House of Ribs, as well as a selection ofBusch Gardens’ own barbeque favorites. Whether hungry for a sampler plate or a hearty platter, guests will have their choice of perfectly prepared chicken, beef, ribs, sides and more!

Can’t decide which performance to attend? Buy a 2014 Fun Card so you can pay for a day and come back all year to catch them all! It’s the best value for again-and-again access to all of the exciting, big-name entertainment, amazing animal encounters, and world-class thrill rides Busch Gardens has to offer, including Falcon’s Fury™, North America’s tallest freestanding drop tower opening spring 2014.The 2014 Fun Card is valid from the date of purchase through Dec. 31, 2014 and is available online, by calling (888) 800-5447 or at the Busch Gardens’ front gate.

At Busch Gardens sister park, Sea World, there are four more weekends of Bands, Brew & BBQ™!

SeaWorld Orlando's Bands, Brew & BBQ will host live rockin' concerts Saturdays and Sundays Now - March 9. SeaWorld chefs and some of Central Florida's local favorites -- Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar-B-Que, Cecil's Texas Style BAR-B-Q and Sonny's BBQ will be on hand serving smokin' BBQ foods tendered to perfection. Also, quench your thirst with a selection of more than 30 craft brews from domestic and international breweries.

This weekend features Sister Hazel on Saturday, Feb. 15 and funny man Larry the Cable Guy on Sunday, Feb. 16. This will be an event you don't want to miss! The event area opens at 11:30 a.m., and concerts begin at 4:00 p.m.

Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration also continues this weekend with live performances by alternative rockers Barenaked Ladies and country star Thomas Rhett at 8:00 p.m. On Saturday, Feb. 15, the Grammy-nominated Barenaked Ladies, best known for their singles “One Week” and “The Old Apartment,” will perform live in concert at Universal Studio Florida. The next night, rising country star Thomas Rhett will take to the Music Plaza Stage to perform hits from his breakthrough album, “It Goes Like This”.

The “N’awlins”-inspired, family-friendly version of Mardi Gras runs select nights through May 31. Guests can catch colorful beads by the handful during the festive Mardi Gras parade at 7:45 p.m., which will feature 12 vibrant floats, including three new additions celebrating Jules Verne’s novel, “Around the World in Eighty Days.” Guests can also visit Universal Studios Florida’s very own French Quarter Courtyard beginning at 4:00 p.m. to enjoy authentic Cajun cuisine and see performances by bands pulled straight from Bourbon Street. The excitement of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida.

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