Get ready to rock and roll as Wellington’s free Tribute Music & Food Festival returns to the Wellington Amphitheater over the course of two weekends this month: Feb. 11-13 and Feb. 18-20.
Cultural Programs & Facilities Manager Joe Piconcelli has great anticipation for this year’s festival.
“This is one of our premier events every year, and I always look forward to this one because the music is so great,” he said.
The festival has grown since it began just a few years ago as a one-band event. Then, Piconcelli said, it grew to two nights with bands, then three nights. Now, it has grown to six nights with six different bands.
At 5:30 p.m., the food trucks will be lined up and ready to serve up delectable dishes for dinner, and characters such as the Frozen princesses and Marvel characters will be on hand to delight, entertain and pose for pictures.
“The whole concept of this is hopefully we bring in some little kids there, and they’ll get interested in some beautiful music that was here years and years ago,” Piconcelli said. “It will introduce them to some different types of music.”
As the bands begin at 6:30 p.m. and continue until 9 p.m., old favorites and new discoveries will float through the air.
“If you like music, we have some really good music coming up,” he said.
The festival begins with a Steely Dan Tribute by Dirty Work on Thursday, Feb. 11; a Billy Joel Tribute by the Turnstiles on Friday, Feb. 12; and a Fleetwood Mac Tribute by Dreams: Crystal Visions of Fleetwood Mac on Saturday, Feb. 13.
The following weekend starts with an Elton John Tribute by Rocket Man on Thursday, Feb. 18; an Eagles Tribute by the Long Run on Friday, Feb. 19; and the festival culminates with a Journey Tribute by Odyssey Road on Saturday, Feb. 20.
“Those are all iconic people and iconic bands,” Piconcelli said, noting that many of the tribute performers are local musicians with a large following.
As the bands play, approximately 20 food trucks will be available for dinner, snacks and dessert. Expected food trucks — which change nightly — include: Bea’s Heavenly Wings, Best French Fries, Chowder Truck, Curbside Gourmet, DR Smoke House, Feel Good Foods, Gene’s Joint, Ice Cream Express, Key West Conch Shack & Grill, MiniVan, Munchies Snack Shack, Nuts About Sugar, Oasis of the Foods, Paradise Cups, Philly Grill, Pizzazilla, PS561, Rollin’ Asian, Sweet Cravings, Tacos Veracruz, the Lobsta Guy and World Fusion. There are plans for a food truck that will be selling beer.
Each night, Piconcelli predicts that anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 people will visit. During a typical concert series, he said, more than 1,000 people show up.
“These bands are very popular. They have a big following,” he explained. “The Elton John, the Billy Joel, the Eagles and Journey bands have big followings in South Florida. People come from all over to see them. The Fleetwood Mac and the Steely Dan bands are very good, and they’re starting to build their following.”
Piconcelli suggests arriving early and bringing lawn chairs. Dogs are not allowed. Smoking is not allowed in the amphitheater, but is permitted in the parking lot. Parking is available in the amphitheater lot, with overflow parking available nearby.
Though the weather has been quite unpredictable lately, Piconcelli is hoping for clear skies. The Wellington Amphitheater, he explained, is booked through June currently, so there isn’t any room to reschedule events.
“We have to go on to the next thing if something has to be canceled,” he said.
There are many ways to check on the status of an event, including the village’s web site, Facebook page and an app called Rainout Line that is also available online at www.rainoutline.com. To use Rainout Line, search for “Wellington Parks & Recreation” or “33414.” The status of events is updated frequently, and includes amphitheater events, happenings at the Wellington Aquatics Complex, the Wellington Tennis Center, recreational sports and more.
“The whole village is under that alert system. If you were going to a baseball game or something of that nature, they have the same app,” he said.
For more information about the Tribute Music & Food Festival, call (561) 753-2484 or visit www.wellingtonfl.gov.
ABOVE: The Wellington Amphitheater.