97X Next Big Thing Throwback: 97X Next Big Thing 3

97X presented The 97X Next Big Thing 3, Sunday, December 7, 2003 in Coachman Park in Clearwater. It was a cold, brisk December morning which resulted in many of the early and late bands donning sweatshirts and coats. The third installment was kicked off in front of a record 5-6k fans at 10:30 in the morning by the Grammy Award winning band, Switchfoot. This would be their first or three NBT appearances (As of 2020). Switchfoot was followed by Yellowcard making their first and only NBT appearance. Following Yellowcard, was the first band to make a repeat appearance on the NBT stage, Something Corporate. This would be Andrew McMahon’s second of six NBT appearances. Florida’s own Less Than Jake hit the stage at 1:30 in the afternoon and delivered a party including confetti cannons and a horn section. The afternoon’s lineup consisted of Smile Empty Soul who rocked the crowd with their hit “Bottom of a Bottle” and The Atari’s who closed with their hit cover, “Boys of Summer.” Hoobastank and Dashboard Confessional performed as the sun was setting and the cold weather was returning. The night belonged to AFI who performed some of their biggest songs of that year’s Sing The Sorrow release including “Girls Not Grey”, “The Leaving Song Pt II” and “Silver and Cold.” The headliner was Fuel who has the distinction of being the first ever artist on 97X with “Hemorrage (In My Hands).” Some additional NBT3 facts:  In the days before social media, set times were printed on cards and were released 10 days before the show at participating sponsor locations where fans could pick them up. In addition to the day of music, NBT3 also featured the Airwalk BMX Stunt Team performing stunts on ramps setup on Drew Street between acts.
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