The cries and calls for a thriving local music scene in Miami are inescapable.
Form a band, become a promoter, train as a sound engineer, and eventually the city's natural roadblocks will squash your hopes of entertainment industry success like a cat making its way across I-95's Express Lane.
Last month, a group of Miami musicians, promoters, venue owners, and many more, gathered to discuss ideas on how to come together to make the scene more successful.
Miami scene mainstays like Churchill's Pub owner Dave Daniels and local legend Rat Bastard spoke their minds on musician's attitudes. Others, like Forward Motion Records' Fernando Perdomo, insisted that Miami's music industry support staff (venue owners, promoters, engineers) don't do enough for local musicians.
Thankfully, the exchange of ideas was more like a senior project brainstorming session than meetings for the Treaty of Versailles. While the two sides of the local scene cautiously eyeballed each other -- musicians in the blue corner, support staff in the red -- the collateral damage was minimal with barely a single call for anyone to go "fuck themselves."
This Wednesday, the Florida Music Get Together meets for a second time and it's mainly due to Radioboxer's Jota Dazza. Ironically, knowing Dazza for almost a decade now, he would probably reprimand any mention of his band in conjunction with the event.
That kind of humility is what makes Dazza the perfect guy to lead this movement, which he created in response to a comment battle on Facebook. Even though he'd like the Get Together to take on a life and meaning all its own, Dazza is clear that the intention "is just about meeting people."
He adds that during the last meet-up, a lot of the bands were proposing to organize something. But Dazza stresses that the meetings aren't to "make anything happen," but rather for the people involved in the South Florida music scene to connect.
Plus, Dazza focuses particularly on keeping the whole occurrence fresh and local. At one point, he tried working with a group of event coordinators to help take some pressure off his shoulders. But when he sat down to discuss speakers, their focus was on Grammy Award panelists and Live Nation while Dazza's focus was on bringing in someone like Humbert's Tony Landa.
There is no better breakdown of the typical Miami-musician-to-support-group problem. Most times, the support people are looking to push themselves further up chains of fame, like a professional game of Shoots and Ladders. Their hopes being to sit in the same room with industry bigwigs, negotiating over Deadmau5's guarantee. Local musicians, on the other hand, are pushed off to the side, begging for opening slots with national acts.
Jota Dazza is doing the dirty work to bring the scene together, and he's trying to keep it as close to home as possible. The panelists for this Wednesday's meeting are mainly local venue owners. According to Dazza, "I want bands to realize, 'Talk to these people.' I'm putting them on stage so you can see who they are."
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The second meeting of the Florida Get Together will continue the low expectations of the first meet-up, seeking only to make connections between people from the local scene. But there is definitely one very promising constant: Under the will and direction of Jota Dazza, the Florida Music Get Together can and will lead to something extraordinary.
Florida Music Get Together. Wednesday, February 29. The Stage, 170 NE 38th St., Miami. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Call or visit thestagemiami.com.