Preview: 97X Next Big Thing

97x’s Next Big Thing will bring some of the biggest names in alternative to Tampa for the weekend.


A promotional poster showcasing the bands for Next Big Thing 2019.

Anna Woodward, Online Managing Editor

Every year, 97x hosts Next Big Thing, a festival highlighting some of the most popular acts in alternative music. Not only are there bands that have songs playing on the radio 24/7, there’s a few lesser-known bands, which makes Next Big Thing unique when compared to other events like Jingle Ball. I’ve been going since 2016, and sitting on the lawn seeing my favorite bands with one of my best friends has become a tradition.

This year, NBT will be held at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater on Nov. 22 and 24. Past headliners have included Paramore, Vance Joy, Walk the Moon, Panic! At The Disco, Young the Giant and Capital Cities. This year, the lineup on Friday features The Killers, while Sunday includes The 1975, AJR and Judah and the Lion as the headliners.

When I first started going to NBT, it was all on one day. Now that the bands are split up between two days, it’s a bit different, but Sunday has proven to be the better day in my opinion with more bands and more popular acts. This year, I have high expectations for the headliners, all of which I have seen before and can’t wait to see how they’ve grown. As for the supporting acts, there’s not as many that I’m a fan of, but I always leave every year with a new band to listen to, so I’m sure NBT 2019 will be the same.

The Killers: Sadly, I’m not going on Friday so I won’t be seeing them, but from their music and their reputation, there’s no way that their performance will be underwhelming. With iconic songs like “Mr. Brightside”, The Killers will definitely exceed expectations.

The 1975: I saw them as one of the headliners in 2016, I was a huge fan then and a bigger fan now so I’ve been anxiously waiting to see them again. Their style has changed since the last time I saw them and they’re expected to release another album in February, so I’m excited to see how they perform their new songs.

Judah and the Lion: When Judah and the Lion was a supporting act in 2016, but they had lots of energy. I vividly remember them playing on a side stage, with just as big of a crowd as those on the main stage. They were just as loud as some of the headliners and were even more entertaining. I’m excited to see how they’ll be as one of the headliners on the main stage instead of as a supporting act.

AJR: I’m not a huge fan, but last year they had lots of energy and were able to keep the crowd engaged throughout the whole set. Despite playing at the Yuengling Center not even a month ago, they’re back in Tampa. I wonder how that show will be different from this one, but I’m sure that AJR won’t disappoint.