Bayside Rocks reggae festival at Bayfront Park
The festival has been canceled. Check our music blog, Crossfade, for the update.
Almost exactly a year ago, local production company and activist organization Rockaz MVMT summoned the righteousness of reggae and Jah's blessedness for the inaugural Bayside Rocks music festival, "a full-day celebration of cultural awareness and consciousness."
From noon till midnight, soldiers of peace, love, and ganja — such as Toots and the Maytals, Bunny Wailer, and Steel Pulse — sang for freedom, justice, and happiness. The people chanted in unison. The smoke drifted toward the clouds. The sun shone and then it set. And those mellow reggae riddims rang out right past curfew.
Another revolution had begun. But now as the MVMT prepares to present the second annual edition of Bayside Rocks, the festival's president, Alfonso DeNiscio Brooks, says the time has come to get really serious about rocking out at Bayfront Park.
"Just watching the worldwide paradigm shift that's happening right now because of the economy and social injustices, we knew it was necessary to produce the event with a bigger purpose," Brooks says. "Last year, we benefited [Miami-based music education initiative] Voices United and [humanitarian nonprofit] Engineers Without Borders.
"But if you're having a concert to benefit arts organizations, you're only reaching a certain group of people," he explains. "So we decided to broaden our horizons and dig deeper into the communal aspect of the festival."
The solution: a partnership with Curley's House, a grassroots project serving the elderly, abused, hungry, homeless, and HIV/AIDS-infected throughout Dade County. And just as they did earlier this year with the MVMT's other marquee music event, the Miami Reggae Festival, Brooks and his Rockaz are asking each and every member of Jah's great and peaceful army to come out and contribute by buying tickets and donating food in the name of social change.
But the Bayside Rocks revolution goes beyond hunger. It's about saving the earth too. So this year, the fest has committed to becoming 100 percent eco-friendly, hosting a local farmers' market, leading environmental workshops on sustainable living practices, and setting up recycling stations for bottles, cans, and paper as well as cooking oil and organic trash. "We want people to know that going green," Brooks says, "really means green in your pocket."
No doubt, though, the people will come to rock. And they definitely won't be bummed out by this year's stacked and eclectic lineup, which includes Jamaican crooner Luciano, roots crew Wailing Souls, Puerto Rican reggae heads Cultura Profética, Haitian compas crew Tabou Combo, and Bob Marley's big band the Original Wailers — plus Barba Less, Venus Rising, Pato Banton, Warrior King, Gondwana, and others. Straight up, it's guaranteed good vibes.
"We're simply trying to re-create the melting pot that we have here in Miami," Brooks explains. "We're turning Bayfront Park into the Caribbean. It's a festival village. And like I keep telling my team, stop saying it's a concert," he laughs. "This is the Bayside Rocks experience!"
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