The West End is fun, loud, and full of people who love music, so it’s no surprise that you can catch some really amazing shows there year round. One thing is for sure…there is no one I would rather see throw a huge Sanford music festival than Paul Williams of the West End Trading company. And that’s exactly what’s coming at the end of May, a giant annual musical explosion known as the Hurricane Party.“It was the first party we threw when opening West End,” Paul said of the Hurricane Party. “It was the beginning of Hurricane season, so we decided to do a party! We brought sand in and put it on the floor…it was a pain in the ass and it stayed for a while.”
And like most great parties, the Hurricane Party has only grown since the word got out. This is the festival’s 9th year, and Paul doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. “Year 1 was one band and a couple hundred person turnout,” he said of the festival’s humble beginnings. “It has evolved and grown every year. We really started morphing into a music festival about 5 years ago, which is when West End started tapping into original live music more. I would really like to see this thing grow into a city wide event over the years, that has always been my vision. I really wanted to see it grow organically and slow throughout the years, and that’s where we are, getting a little better every year. I think this is the year we will make the biggest jump up though.”
The West End is May’s Sanford Selfie Sponsor! In addition to the standard $100 Selfie Dollars, Paul is also giving away two FREE tickets to the Hurricane Party!
This year’s Hurricane Party will bring over 40 different bands to Downtown Sanford, including local favorites such as Thomas Wynn and the Believers. Paul said that hundreds of bands in Central Florida approach him to play the Hurricane Party, and that they all go through a careful selection process. “There are a ton of great bands in our area, and it sucks that some get left off…that’s why I want to see it grow!” Paul said of the number of submissions. “The music scene in Sanford is definitely on the rise. At West End we have been able to attract some quality national touring acts in several genres. This has simply gotten better and better over time for us. The bands enjoy playing a town like Sanford, the convenience and personal feel of it.”
What kind of feedback have you gotten from attendees and the bands who have participated in the past?
They both love it. It is a big party and everyone has a ton of fun. It always rains some, can’t help that too much being that it’s summer, but people embrace it and have fun!!!
Are there any new acts in the show this year that you are really excited about?
YES!! The lineup is huge, check the stats on the bands that are coming in. The Movement is one of my favorite bands and they are great live. Add all the other headliners in and the lineup is solid front to back. Watch out for a BIG surprise headliner that will be announced May 10th!!!!
Have there ever been any bands perform at West End that you didn’t think ever would/what’s the most unlikely show that’s ever played at West End?
Ha! If you told me 5 years ago that we would have bands like: The Supervillains, Ballyhoo!, Fishbone, Alien Ant Farm, Afroman, Nappy Roots, Authority Zero, Rehab, Hed PE, The Movement, the list goes on, I would have said “there is no way we can make that happen.”
So other than music, what else can you expect at the Hurricane Party? Plenty of booze and food! Paul plans to bring in some of Central Florida’s favorite food trucks and he’ll also be creating a map of places to eat in Downtown Sanford. “There will be a lot of people that want to go sit down and relax throughout the day away from the event, so obviously we want to showcase what we have to offer in town and keep them from getting in the car to go anywhere!” he said. (A man after my own heart, encouraging people to stay away from driving!)
There will also be drink specials all day long featuring Hurricane Party Sponsors Big Storm Brewing Co, Deep Eddy Vodka, and Fireball. However, be sure to heed Paul’s #1 piece of advice for Hurricane Party Survival: “STAY HYDRATED!!! It’s hot and the fun can get the best of you!”
One of my favorite things about this event is the slew of activity it will create on 2nd street. The West End-Celery City Craft team are heading up the planning, and Rabbitfoot and Inner Compass will be helping out the day of the event, showcasing what a difference cooperation among downtown businesses can make. You won’t want to miss seeing the Palmetto/2nd St. Corridor come alive that day!
Paul has a few treats in store, including free t-shirts for the first 100 people at the gate. Get there early!
So if you’re jonesing for a great music festival to start your summer off right, make plans to be at West End’s Hurricane Party on May 30th!
Take a great #SanfordSelfie and you can win two free tickets! Learn more about entering your selfie here.
Tickets are $20 presale/$30 on the day of the event. Get your tickets here.