Tony Baltimore: Grand Marshal of Fantasy Fest Parade 2022


Tony Baltimore, beloved Key West local musician, has been selected to be the Grand Marshal for the Bud Light Fantasy Fest Parade this year! Baltimore established his sound in the bars and clubs of Key West, after having moved here in 2010 in search of new inspiration. 

Baltimore was pleasantly shocked and surprised when Nadine Orr, Director of Fantasy Fest, asked Baltimore if he was interested in being the Grand Marshal of the parade during a meeting a few weeks prior to the official announcement. Baltimore explained that he was in no way expectant of the proposal she had given him, but after learning more about the role, grew excited to fill the big shoes of the prior Grand Marshal, Coffee Butler!

Upon arrival in Key West, Baltimore found that this place granted people the creative liberty to pursue their dreams and be whoever they wanted. As said on Baltimore’s website, “I realized that there’s no format you’re required to follow when you play music in Key West, and I took full advantage of that.” Baltimore is originally from urban Maryland and was raised by working-class parents. In his bio, Baltimore comments on his commitment to hard work, and the value of sweat equity and long hours. He says, “I come from a family of Italian immigrants. A work ethic was beaten into me.” Baltimore has never fallen short when working, and it shows. 

Baltimore is heavily influenced by his favorite band, The Beatles. Their use of a plethora of different instruments, particularly the tuba, is inspirational to Baltimore’s own music. In Let’s All Go Insane, Baltimore’s latest album, listeners can indulge in a musical celebration of freedom and individuality. The album, as said on Baltimore’s website, “has everything from strings to synths to trumpets and violins, which is generally something you wouldn’t hear on a pop/rock record. For me, it’s all about being able to write whatever I want, and just put it out there.” 

Being selected for 2022 Grand Marshal is a huge honor to Baltimore. He recounts prior Fantasy Fest experiences he has had, with friends, in which he attended certain events and was on certain floats, but this year is going to be a completely different experience, as he is leading the parade. Baltimore says, “The pressure is on this year. I can’t skimp it, but I’ve never skimped in my life. After the news, I immediately reached out to artists and performers to get things together.” He continued on by mentioning his collaboration with Marky Pierson, major contributor to Fantasy Fest, and owner of Wonderdog Studios, and how their two teams are working together to cultivate the artwork, amongst many other things that go into the festival. 

Costumes, booze, music, family, friends, and art? Count me in. Having Tony Baltimore as Grand Marshal of the whole event? Count me in. Get excited! Because Fantasy Fest is slowly creeping up on us. October 21-30! Be there!!!!

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