Waves and surf are what the Sunshine State is known for and entertainment for the LGBTQ+ community is no exception. Tampa Bay as a region offers a plethora of genres for every cultural connoisseur. From Ybor City to Dunedin and Grand Central Saint Petersburg to the SRQ, our region is a tapestry of beauty.
St. Petersburg has an LGBTQ performing arts center called the FreeFall Theatre. Their website describes their mantra perfectly, “we want you to be part of the metamorphosis”. Shows and musicals at this arts center have been life changing and moving for so many in the region. If you also enjoy live theater, local figure Matt McGee performs numerous drag and performing arts shows with genres such as cabaret, Broadway, jazz and more.
Singers and Musicians
Let’s not forget our vocalists and instrumentalists in the region. The community main thoroughfares of Gulfport, Dunedin, and Central Avenue are mini-cultural center for live music like no other in Pinellas County. Numerous LGBTQ artists, including Jennifer Real; Delaran Withers & the band Elysian Sex Drive; and the Tampa Gay Men’s Chorus perform in these communities.
Gulfport has become the center of both day and nightlife. Salty’s, Caddy’s, Fortunado’s, O’Maddys, Neptune Grill, and Pepperz Cabaret provide some of the more popular venues for musicians in the Tampa Bay region. Not a night goes by without music dancing along the bay in this quirky and LGBTQ populated town. Pepperz Cabaret is the LGBTQ bar of the region, offering a mix of entertainment throughout the week.
From the Hollander in downtown St. Pete to the Copa in Tampa, you will find Cabaret singer Judy B. Goode. Her partner in music is Paul Thomas. She dons fun hats and sings show tunes to make your heart warm. If you’re more into the alternative scene, the Castle in Tampa’s Ybor City offers Dj’s like Glen S, Brian Busto, and Serious Soul perform live in the Dungeon. The St. Pete version of this scene can be found below ground at the Subcentral Speakeasy at Iberian Rooster. These two locations are the heart of many scenes blending together for entertainment in the community: including the non-binary, bisexual and pansexual scenes.
Drag and DJs
Drag artists and Dj’s are some of the most beloved in our community. You can see them anchoring Ybor City, Cristophs Tampa, Grand Central St. Pete, Gulfport, Dunedin, Beach Drive St. Pete and the Beaches. Smaller bars in the region also feature great entertainers. City Side Tampa, Blur Dunedin, Quench Lounge Largo, Mad Hatters Tea Room St. Pete, and Pro Shop Pub Clearwater, Lucky Star Lounge St. Pete each have their flair and local performing artists weekly.
Juno Vibranz, Rockell Blu, Amy DeMilo, Esme Russell, Sade Louis, Brianna Summers, Kori Stevens, Alexis Mateo, Alisa Summers, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, and Joey Brooks are the headliners of many of Tampa Bays’ hottest drag nights. Nicole T. Lane, Adriana Sparkle, Alexis de La Mer, Antwanette Roberts and many others illustriously also highlight their skills.
Hamburger Mary’s Clearwater has reopened with a bang. Southern Nights Ybor in Tampa provides both amateur drag night and highlights seasoned stars. Tangra Nightclub in Ybor has Iconic Tuesday’s with a vibrant LGBTQ+ night featuring drag star judges and performances, competing amateurs, and drink specials. This new nightclub brings an entirely unprecedented experience to Ybor. Amy deMilo currently hosts a bubbly, energizing Drag Bingo at Stone Soup Company Ybor City. Amy always leaves everyone so giddy.
Entertainment Companies and DJs
The entertainment companies and Dj’s that form the backbone of the Tampa LGBTQ cannot he forgotten. Roca Productions does it all from dance, to vocals, to cabaret. Robert Rigsby (Rockell Blu) and others coordinate phenomenal themed shows leaving you breathless. Dj Ace Vedo, Dj Mike Sklarz, Dj Greg Anderson, Dj Lamonte Monnell, DJ Danita Zamiga, DY Shannon, and Dj Wayne are some of our areas top spinning professionals. Exxxtra productions, led by Greg Anderson, can be found in partnership with Sawmill Campground, Cristophs Tampa, and Subcentral Iberian Rooster.
Fuego and Pumped Friday at Southern Nights Ybor is Tampa’s premier LGBTQ Latin night. Fuego features Dj Mike El Bori with Ava Deamor, and Pumped is with Kiala Santi and Dj Ace Vedo.
Tampa Bay is Creating Waves in the LGBTQ Entertainment World
The entertainers and artists know how to ride the tide of our region. They make waves and create local cultural trends that drive us all to unite and celebrate. Grab a hold of the region if you haven’t yet. Explore the little nooks and crannies that makes Tampa Bay so iconic. Whether you’re “keeping Gulfport weird” or living it up in Ybor, splash your way through the scene. Sample the soirées of Dunedin and party on Grand Central/Edge from Enigma to the Garage and Lucky Star to Punkys. Find the entertainers live enchanting all and uniting all into a greater tomorrow.
For more exciting places to explore, check out our VISIT section.
Written by Johnathan Soots
Hailing from North Carolina, Jonathan Soots relocated to Orlando in 2001. He began a seven year career with Universal Orlando. After completing high school, he attended college in Tennessee. He worked in the church world and then came out in 2010. Around this time, he completed a Masters in Teaching. Jonathan presently teaches for Tutor Doctor, Challenge Island and Qkids English Learning. Travel is his favorite activity, and he has worked briefly for an LGBT travel company. In addition to enjoying Atlantis gay cruises, he and his husband Stephen enjoy spending time with their silky terrier Dusty. They live in the South Pasadena area of St. Petersburg.
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.