It's an ironic truth that sends a mixture of anger and confusion shooting up the spine of out-of-towners: South Floridians who live near the beach tend not to actually go to the beach very often. Maybe we're jaded, spoiled, or don't want to get sandy — who knows? But the concert series known as A Day at the Beach is intended to jolt us out of this bad habit while educating us on our local music scene as well. "I started this concert series five years ago," Jose Elias tells us. "I run the nonprofit Community Arts & Culture, and with Day at the Beach, I wanted to create a concert platform for a variety of lots of different types of music."
When Elias started looking for a venue, he was naturally drawn to the North Beach Bandshell, a quaint beachside venue charming to both locals and tourists alike. "One of our missions is to bring musical programming to underserved parts of the community," Elias says. "A Day at the Beach was tailor-made to draw attention to the North Beach area. The bandshell was renovated a few years ago, and we thought we'd make an event where people can spend a good part of their day here and check out the area."
At the upcoming Day at the Beach five-year anniversary, there will be live painting by local visual artist Amos, crafts for sale by various vendors, and a full liquor bar, of course. But the main draw is and always will be the music, Elias says. "This is one of the first ones we've done that is all local with mad variety. We're really trying to give these local acts a proper stage where they can have a full-on concert presentation."
Among the booked musicians is Nil Lara, a Cuban-American singer/songwriter who Elias is especially proud to present. "Nil Lara is a local artist but has become international. He rarely plays Miami any more. In fact, I can't remember the last time he played here, so it felt important to find a setting fit for his caliber."
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Also on the bill are DJ Ephniko Dialecto, the funk/jazz/rock of Aaron Lebos Reality, the bluesy classic rock of Birdman's Clambake, and the Latin Alternative of Elastic Bond. "When we're booking bands, we like to ask around and see if there's a way we can tie in the event with something they've accomplished. With Elastic Bond celebrating their tenth anniversary, they said they'd have something special up their sleeve."
In spite of its laid-back name, Elias is proud with how A Day at the Beach has grown over its five-year lifespan. "With Community Arts & Culture, I've been putting on concert events for 15 years. A Day at the Beach is the only one to receive a federal National Endowment of the Arts grant. To get that kind of support for this program with that kind of recognition is a big deal."
A Day at the Beach Concert Series with Nil Lara and others. 5 p.m. Saturday, November 26, at North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; communityartsandculture.org. Admission is $5 at the door.