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In the beginning, California artist/musician Chris Deckker imagined a world united through music, dancing away to pulsing beats but with a purpose of a greater good. And in 1997, he realized his creation, and it was good.
The first Earthdance, as he dubbed his event, was a logical outgrowth of the electronic music scene — remember, of course, that the raver's motto was PLUR (peace, love, unity, respect). Besides performers and exhibitors raising awareness, the events' profits all went toward various humanitarian charities. But Deckker wanted Earthdance to go worldwide, with as many people as possible gathering at the same time on the same day. By last year, the event had grown to 340 simultaneous locations in 57 countries, and to encompass all kinds of music, from rock to hip-hop to world beat.
Despite Miami's propensity to party for any reason, the city came a little late to the game. Last fall local label Sustainable Recordings and music/art collective Moksha Family took up the cause.
"This year I was thinking it was important to invite select media and promotional groups to be involved in Earthdance," says Sustainable's Theresa Amandi, "because everyone's doing all these separate things. I was thinking, Let Earthdance be the one event that's the common denominator for us all, to promote this message of eco-conservation ... because that's cool. So we've got Poplife, Supermarket, Spiderpussy, Contagious Musiq, Miami Nights, Monkey Village, Flavorpill.... If we're going to be out here and party, let's do it with elevated consciousness."
Miami's lineup is a little crunchier and more organic than some of the other participating cities' larger, more electronic-oriented events. But that's fine by us, because some of the city's brightest under-the-radar talents get time to shine. Live acts include Life Project, Lanzallamas Monofonicas, Jesse Jackson, Locos por Juana, and Agape featuring Nadia Harris. But true to the spirit of Earthdance and of Miami, there will be three inside rooms of dance beats as well. Some of those who will be manning the ones and twos include Ralph Falcon, Stryke, Erick Paredes, Djinji Brown, Nova, Aramis Lorie of Poplife, and Lauren "Lolo" Reskin of Sweat Records. (For the day's full lineup, visit www.myspace.com/earthdancemiami.) There will also be performance art, yoga, meditation, activist talks, a Zen garden, and a "sustainable organic fashion show" — everything the conscious type needs for balance.
Exactly 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time is when the Miami gathering syncs up with the rest of the world, joining to dance to the prescribed "Prayer for Peace," an uplifting four-to-the-floor track produced specially for Earthdance.
"During this peace track that's played for four minutes, you're visualizing, focusing on good intention, positivity, love, peace," Amandi says. "Everyone's doing it all around the world — almost millions of people — and that's a really beautiful thing."
Moreover, a good chunk of your $15 ticket price will go to ECOMB, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the local environment. So get dancing and dig the good vibrations.