The Skate Park of Tampa turns 10

Hundreds of people trekked to North Florida this weekend to lose themselves in the 10-keg, four-band 10th anniversary bash for the world-renowned Skate Park of Tampa (SpoT) at the Masquerade in Ybor City.

As skaters and partiers faced sub-zero temperatures waiting in line outside, inside the four bands, Andrew WK, the Bouncing Souls, One Man Army, and Icon, were ready and accounted for. The employees of SpoT, decked out in cheap suits, were as roused as the freezing revelers outside as they stumbled across the stage in anticipation.

Little known opener Icon began their set as people trickled through the doors and headed immediately for the 10 kegs of free beer. By the end of their set, the venue was filled to capacity and only people who had purchased advance tickets were being admitted.

To a sold out crowd, the park unveiled the premiere of its skate video, 10 Years Of SPoT Video, on three massive screens. The footage featured skateboarders competing in the park’s famous annual Tampa AM contest, a naked boy skating on the vert ramp, boxing, and kids putting their lives in in the hands of a loop ramp. After its premiere, the video ran continuously throughout the night. SPoT was founded in 1993, and the video manages to compile moments from the park’s meager origins to its flourishing existence as a leading park on the East Coast.

Punk revivalists One Man Army (three members?) pulled out a performance that left slightly more impact on the crowd than Icon. A couple eager partiers jumped up on stage and danced around. It wasn’t until Andrew WK was about to take the stage that the crowd really flipped into party mode. From the first chord of the longhaired headbanger’s set there were literally dozens of kids onstage with him.

Andrew WK, clad in his signature dirty white T-shirt, acid wash ’80s jeans, and Nikes – could hardly be seen on stage from the floor. People were going ape shit over him. With three tracks from his current album, I Get Wet, with the word ‘party’ in the title, he was the perfect mascot for SpoT’s birthday party. When people crowd surfed on stage, Andrew WK was alongside them, hoisted proudly upon hundreds of shoulders.

Headliners, The Bouncing Souls, a classic punk band on Epitaph Records hailing from New Jersey, took a day off from recording their new album to show SPoT respect. They started out with a vacant stage, and once they went into “True Believers” it-was-over.

The crowd swarmed the stage to sing along with the Souls before being cleared off and stampeding again in larger numbers. Front man Greg Attonito weathered the youth storm by keeping the beat with his classic handclaps and finger snapping. The set was high energy as half the crowd was on stage while the other half continued moshing in a gigantic circle pit on the floor. Members of the band couldn’t see each other as they improvised the set list. Before packing up their van, they encored with four more songs, including an extended version of Johnny Cash’s “Born to Lose.”

The party was a huge success and an apt kickoff for the much-publicized Tampa Am competition that took place over the weekend. Ten years for a skate park is a milestone; props to everyone at SPoT from Life & Art.

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Kira Wisniewski can be reached at