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Front Page » Top Stories » Knight Foundation grant brings high tech to North Beach Bandshell

Knight Foundation grant brings high tech to North Beach Bandshell

Written by on November 16, 2021
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Knight Foundation grant brings high tech to North Beach Bandshell

The North Beach Bandshell is taking its live performances to the next level with leading technology that is enhancing its programming and creating immersive experiences.

The Bandshell’s upgrade was made possible through a $1.5 million investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in the Rhythm Foundation, which manages the Bandshell.

The venue at 7275 Collins Ave. has hit this new milestone while also celebrating its 60th anniversary and recent designation as a historic landmark by the City of Miami Beach.

The Rhythm Foundation will use Knight’s investment to install advanced equipment and software that allows performers to create cutting-edge content, livestream productions and record performances to reach local, national and international audiences. These upgrades will establish the bandshell as Miami’s virtual performance space, enhancing existing programming and allowing for new multimedia experiences, said James Quinlan, the foundation’s director.

“This investment from the Knight Foundation builds on our work during the pandemic to expand our multimedia capabilities,” he said. “We’ll now be able to flip the switch and ensure the Bandshell is a full-fledged virtual venue, able to reach and connect international audiences with our rich cultural content.”

In today’s world of live arts, audiences look for multiple viewing options and the foundation understands that integrating technology into the creation, presentation and experience of art is a great way to attract, expand and maintain audiences both in-person and virtually, said Victoria Rogers, Knight’s vice president for the arts.

“Knight’s investment helps ensure that the Rhythm Foundation and the Bandshell will continue to play a critical role in the evolution of Miami’s rich art scene,” she said.

Built in 1961, the bandshell was designed by Miami Beach architect Norman Giller, who is considered one of the creators of MiMo or Miami Modern architecture.

In 2003, Rhythm Foundation created its first brand, the TransAtlantic Festival in the North Beach Bandshell and other venues. This exploration of modern world music focused on artists working between traditional rhythms and electronica, was successful in developing new audiences and giving the organization a stronger identity.

In 2015, Miami Beach awarded the foundation the management of the 1,400-capacity oceanfront amphitheater, which Rhythm Foundation officials say had come full circle but they were now fully prepared to make the bandshell into a historic venue. A well-rounded schedule of 75-plus events per year was launched that welcomed the entire South Florida and visitor community to the Bandshell.

Since then, the city has also undertaken much-needed capital improvements to the Bandshell including installation of a weather canopy and improved seating.

Located in a neighborhood that was designated for the National Register of Historic Places back in 2009, the Bandshell also serves as a community gathering spot hosting cultural celebrations such as Seaside Summer, North Beach Social and the Axis of Love Concert Series. It also hosts live performances by local, national and international artists and annual events such as Ground Up Music Festival, Global Cuba Fest and Afro Roots Festival.

“The North Beach Bandshell has become the perfect example of how a historic facility can continue to form our identity as a cultural community while staying current with the evolving trends of technology and the arts,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.

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