Miami Beach Pop Festival: Yea or Nay?

Ocean Drive

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Miami Beach Pop Festival: Yea or Nay?:

city wants input on proposed december event

Two experienced concert promoters want to bring a Pop Festival to Miami Beach the weekend following Art Basel but the City wants community input before making any permitting decisions. This Wednesday, the first public meeting will be held to gather comments.
The festival is being proposed by Paul Peck and Steve Sybesma, co-founders of the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival. They envision an annual three-day family-friendly event in South Beach, on the sand from 5th to 10th Streets. 
Eva Silverstein, Miami Beach Director of Tourism, Culture, and Economic Development, recently told the Commission’s Neighborhood and Community Affairs Committee that the event is expected to bring between 25,000 and 35,000 people to town. She said the two weeks following Art Basel are traditionally among the lowest hotel occupancy weeks during the year.
The beach area proposed for the festival is closed for several weeks due to the SCOPE and Untitled Art Basel events and would have to be closed for the festival. The City wants to gauge how the community feels about that on the heels of the Art Basel closure and thoughts or concerns about another weekend of large crowds.
Peck told the Committee, “Our vision is to create an annual three-day cultural celebration, celebrating the city’s rich diversity. We want to bring world class headline level talent.” The vision includes “festivals within the festival,” he said, including “a great food festival, a great local art festival, a unique Miami Beach experience that celebrates the natural features and flavors” of the City.
Musical acts would include a “diverse range of genres” to “unite diverse communities” through “shared celebrations and experiences,” Peck said. In addition to “local chefs, local artists, local produce” the team wants to work with area youth and college programs to encourage young artists.
Sybesma said setting up the stage will take about a week, necessitating a beach closure from approximately 5th to 6th Streets only. The full closure from 5th to 10th Streets would be for the three days of the festival.
He projected the economic benefit to the City to include about 1,000 room nights attributed to staffing and another 1,000 room nights used by the artists and “a minimum 10,000 room nights by attendees”.
According to Silverstein, the proposed 2018 schedule would be Friday, December 14 through Sunday, December 16. Friday and Saturday hours would be 1 pm to midnight. Sunday, 1 pm to 11 pm. She said the City has discussed “some form of community giveback since it is such a large event”.
Silverstein said the City administration would like to get the input of residents as well as beach concessionaires and Ocean Drive businesses. The Committee agreed, hence this week’s meeting.
Miami Beach Pop Festival Community Input Meeting
Wednesday, February 7, 10 am
Miami Design Preservation League Auditorium
1001 Ocean Drive
The 10 am time may not be convenient for everyone. You can always send your email thoughts to Commissioners here.

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