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Take a swig of rum, close your eyes, and picture the perfect concert. Palm trees sway in the cool breeze sliding off the ocean just a few feet away. The band — let's say world-renowned Malian guitarist Bombino and his desert-rock outfit making their South Florida debut — jams out in a restored art deco band shell with perfect acoustics. The crowd sways under the stars, pressed close in the intimate space. It's no fantasy, amigo. That was just the scene at this year's Heineken TransAtlantic Festival, one of Miami's great recurring series in the Magic City's finest outdoor music venue. The North Shore Park Band Shell, tucked just off Collins Avenue in the center of North Beach, has become a key piece of Miami Beach's music scene since a nine-month renovation in 2011 restored the deco gem. Between regular free shows featuring local symphony orchestras and jazz groups (and weekly free outdoor movie nights for locals), the band shell is an astounding place. It also hosts more ambitious efforts like the TransAtlantic Festival, which bring acclaimed international acts — like Bombino and Chilean electro-stars Astro this year — for their Florida debuts.


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