Four groups eye Miami for live music festivals
By Scott E. Pacheco
You heard it here: At least four organizations are laying separate plans to bring Miami alive with the sound of live music festivals.
Two of the festivals are set to hit this year. Another is targeted for next fall. The fourth is still under wraps.
For Denise Galvez, president and CEO of Go To Marketing, the festival mission she plans is to bring Miami's homegrown talent to the public.
"It kills me for people to tell me there's no music" in Miami, she said.
Her vision, to tentatively debut in October 2010, is the Miami Music Fest — a collection of about 15 groups that would attract about 30,000 spectators to Bayfront Park. She said the groups would be from various music genres, as the area does have some events such as electronic music's Ultra that cater to a specific genre.
"We really need to give a platform for all types of music that come out of Miami," said Ms. Galvez, who was exposed to the live underground music scene in Miami years ago and was drawn to the "really interesting sound."
But while Miami Music Fest isn't to kick off until next year, Caliente! Miami, a spinoff of the Caliente! festival in Zurich, Switzerland, that has brought Latin American music to Europe for 15 years, will hit downtown Miami later this year.
From Nov. 20-22 AmericanAirlines Arena and Bayfront Park are to host a variety of acts from several countries. Caliente! Zurich has attracted such performers as Mexican Julieta Venegas, Cubans Issac Delgado and Compay Segundo, Venezuelan Oscar d`Leon, the Queen of Brazilian Axé Ivete Sangalo, Brazilian drummers Olodum, Puerto Rican Power and American artists Herbie Hancock and The Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
And In Tune Partners, whose president is Transit Lounge owner Will Edwards, "is in discussions with local government, media and sponsors about a three-day music industry conference and showcase for new and developing artist performances," Mr. Edwards wrote to Miami Today in an e-mail.
The festival is to showcase all styles of music, focused on the music of Miami, and is to feature hundreds of Latin, urban and Caribbean musical acts, according to Mr. Edwards.
"Plans call for the event to take place in the heart of Miami and offers of participation are now being made to venues in the area," he wrote. "The timeframe for this event is late 2009. In Tune is also reaching out to many of the areas colleges and universities about their participation.
"This event is being created to help support and grow the music creation, production and performance community in Miami, and to bring artists from around the world to South Florida."
Robert Parente, director of the Miami Mayor's Office of Film and Cultural Affairs, said the fourth event "is in the works but details have not been released at this point."
With Miami Music Fest, Ms. Galvez said, the budget needs to be a minimum $500,000 and she is forming a nonprofit group to become eligible for grants through the City of Miami.
"It needs that public-private partnership for it to happen," she said, adding that partnerships with other festivals and big music labels are possibilities.
Mr. Parente said while funding is tight, the city can get the wheels in motion. He said as far as grants go, "I personally prefer to give grants towards the not-for-profits."
"We just don't have the budget to be able to underwrite these things," he said. "Our ability is somewhat hampered by the lack of money. We serve as a catalyst for guiding them into venues."
Ms. Galvez said she's happy to start a nonprofit to get the festival going.
"I am married to a musician and I see what musicians put out there," she said. "It's not about the money — it's also a matter of how times have changed. People are more and more looking to do things that they love. People are more open and supportive because of how things are in the country."
The objective of Caliente! Miami is to bring different communities together, "since they usually do not tend melt. Caliente! Miami represents the right opportunity to witness a musical melting pot," according to a information released by the event organizers.
"The objective is to provide a good representation of Latin American culture. We believe that this is a unique platform to present different countries to a wider audience."