Miami Beach Seeks Proposals to Change Spring Break Dynamic

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Miami Beach Seeks Proposals to Change Spring Break Dynamic:

Month-long “big idea” programming sought for March 2021

Miami Beach wants to replace Spring Break mayhem with “an original, big, programming vision” during the month of March 2021. To do that, the City is soliciting proposals from firms experienced in producing large-scale events and who can come up with the funding for a month-long effort. 
In a Request for Letters of Interest (RFLI), the City indicates it is “looking for unique, innovative, imaginative and big ideas that will engage our residents and tourists during our ‘Spring Break’ season. No idea is too big, or too ‘out there’ as part of this initial RFLI process, we want to engage with as many ideas as possible, to see which is the right fit for our City.”
The City is staying flexible to generate those ideas encouraging submissions even if “an idea does not exactly match” the criteria listed in the RLFI “as we may be able to re-work our plans to incorporate more than one idea or combine ideas to create a larger plan.”
The solicitation is “an attempt to drive tourism and increase hotel room occupancy, while reducing traffic impact, and creating a new look and feel for Miami Beach during [Spring Break].” In recent years the City has experienced more chaotic Spring Break periods and Commissioners are looking for other solutions beyond the heavy police presence they’ve been forced to deploy.

“We intend to put cultural offerings at the forefront of who and what we are – cultural offerings could include but are not limited to music, arts, sports, fashion, or performance art,” the RFLI notes.
Specifically, the City is looking for activities that take place directly on the beach from 5th to 10th Streets. Though proposals are not required to fill the entire space, “the City is interested in proposals that will take up a few city blocks, as a way in which to spread out the heavy beach crowds that generally congregate in those areas during Spring Break,” according to the solicitation. “This physical footprint should take up a large portion of the beach with event infrastructure, tents, etc.”
“The City could be interested in proposals that take place in other geographic areas throughout the City as well, if the scale and genre of the event were the right fit,” the RFLI states.
Programming is suggested to last three to four weeks during the heaviest Spring Break period with five days of load-in starting February 20th, event dates from February 26th through March 28th, and five days of load-out ending April 2, 2021.
Minimum programming required during that timeframe is every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 
“The City is open to programming all days but required programming must focus on engaging crowds of 1000+ during our high impact times (3 pm – 10 pm) on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. No programming will be approved before 11:00 am or after 11:00 pm on any day,” according to the solicitation.
“Programming should be engaging and entice people to travel to and stay in the City to take part – and position Miami Beach as a destination for international travelers,” the City notes. “[I]deally programming elements should not exceed 15,000 people per day. Proposals must be manageable and not strain City Services (Transportation, Police, Fire, EMS, Sanitation, etc.).
The City also wants proposals with “a sellable ticket” in order to monitor attendance numbers “and to ensure that a significant quantity of tickets can be packaged with City hotel rooms, in order to ensure occupancy of our hotel rooms, and to mitigate traffic issues by having guests stay within walking distance of the site.”
Anyone with a big idea needs to also have a big capacity to fund it. While the City is willing to waive all Special Event permit fees for the programming, the RFLI is clear that “The City is not looking to fund this endeavor, but rather, is looking for a partner who will be able to utilize private financing, sponsorship and ticket revenue to pay for this endeavor. It is the intent of the City to select a proposal that does not require any financial support from the City” outside of fee waivers. 
While any event must follow the City’s Sustainability and Resiliency policies, proposals that go a step further and “put a focus on the City as a world leader in resiliency, sustainability, or plastic free initiatives, would be looked on favorably.” 
Individual companies or groups of companies who want to make a joint proposal “to solve the problem together” are welcome. The prime proposer must have successfully produced at least three productions of the size Miami Beach is seeking to implement.
While Commissioners had hoped to be able to come up with month-long programming as soon as next year, City staff said that was not doable and suggested the RFLI for 2021. In the meantime, the City grapples with its response and funding for Spring Break 2020.

The deadline to submit proposals is Friday, September 27 at 5:00 pm. The RFLI can be found here.
Photo: Courtesy Logan Fazio

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