LOS ANGELES – Rob Gronkowski might be retired from the NFL, but the former all-pro football player is still in the game during the league’s championship week.
The four-time Super Bowl winner — who calls himself the “MVP of Fun” — will host a music festival called “Gronk Beach” in Phoenix on Saturday a day ahead of the big game. The beach-themed day party features performances by 21 Savage, Lil Jon and Diplo.
After hosting the event in Miami and Las Vegas, Gronkowski said he’s introducing a celebrity volleyball pool competition. The event will take place at the Talking Stick Resort — which will host Shaquille O’Neal’s “Shaq’s Fun House” on Friday and Sports Illustrated's The Party later Saturday evening.
“This event brings a whole other dynamic to going to a party,” Gronkowski said. “Anyone can go to a party in their basement like high school or college style. But as you get older, you like the theme party now. You like walking in, seeing the beach, seeing the volleyball going on, seeing the stage. It’s like seventh heaven.”
Along with Gronkowski’s event, the days leading up to the Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles will include concerts from some of the biggest music stars including Drake, Cardi B, Snoop Dogg, Patti LaBelle, Kane Brown and Machine Gun Kelly.
Here’s a look at some of the events during a busy Super Bowl week:
O’Neal’s carnival-themed event will make its own touchdown in downtown Phoenix on Friday.
Like previous years, the former NBA player — who moonlights as DJ Diesel — looks to bring back a fun-filled event that includes a human claw machine, Ferris wheel and an 80-foot slide. Snoop Dogg and Diplo are the expected headliners.
“We want to have a great time. We know every year you have to up your game. It’s like when you win championships. You know, the first time we did it was a championship, and it was OK, now we got to do back-to-back. So, we want to remain the best Super Bowl party ever in the history of all Super Bowl parties.”
Buffalo Bills player Isaiah McKenzie and his team fell short in the postseason, but he’s looking to stand tall in a performance with the NFL Players Choir at the Super Bowl Soulful Celebration.
Along with the choir, Patti LaBelle, Israel Houghton, Kierra Sheard and Tye Tribbett will grace the stage Wednesday at the Mesa Arts Center. The event — founded by Melanie Few — will honor Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who will receive the “Faith in Action” award, which recognizes current and former NFL players who have made an impact in their communities.
The theme of the event combining comedy, football and soulful inspiration is “Unstoppable.”
“I’m looking forward to singing my heart out with my band, my singers and just praising God,” said LaBelle, a Philadelphia native who is eager to meet Hurts. “I'm praying for the Eagles to win.”
Guy Fieri is looking to create the Super Bowl’s largest culinary event ever.
For those unable to see the game firsthand, Fieri is hosting Guy’s Flavortown Tailgate. It’s a free, family-friendly event that he expects to draw around 10,000 fans.
Fieri will curate more than 15 restaurants and bar experiences along with performances by Diplo and LOCASH. The event will be held adjacent to State Farm Stadium, where the Chiefs and Eagles faceoff.
“We got the greatest game in the world and it’s something everyone dreams of going to, but not everybody can get in the stadium,” Fieri said. “So I thought, ‘Why don’t we throw a tailgate?’ A lot of people go to the tailgate instead of going to the actual game. But there’s not tailgating normally at the Super Bowl, because of parking. But we’re right across the street from the stadium. From 11-4:30, we are throwing a free party so you can have that Super Bowl experience.”
BUD LIGHT MUSIC FEST
Paramore and the Bleachers will co-headline the first night of the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest on Thursday. The three-night festival will celebrate its fourth year of existence at the Footprint Center., the home of the Phoenix Suns.
The follow-up night includes performances by Dave Matthews Band along with special guest DJ Pee .Wee (Anderson .Paak). Imagine Dragons and Kane Brown will close out the festival Saturday night.
MICHELOB ULTRA x NETFLIX
Serena Williams and Brian Cox will host the afterparty for the premiere of the documentary “Full Swing.”
Michelob ULTRA and Netflix are teaming up to celebrate the next generation of golf culture with appearances by O’Neal, Lori Harvey, DJ Khaled, Canelo Alvarez and Nneka Ogwumike. The event will have performances by Offset and DJ Pee .Wee.
MORE, MORE, MORE
Drake is expected to perform at the invite-only Homecoming Weekend pop up bash at the luxury private jet complex, Scottsdale Hangar One. On Saturday night, The Chainsmokers and Machine Gun Kelly will headline the Sports Illustrated party.
G-Eazy will headline the W Scottsdale’s Super Weekend series on Thursday night with Cardi B set to perform the following night. Ludacris will close out the series with a set on Saturday.
Associated Press writer John Carucci contributed to this report.
For more coverage of Super Bowl 57, visit: www.apnews.com/SuperBowl