White sands. Neon. Bikini bottoms on babes of both sexes.
This is Miami Beach, a land of sun and fun, late nights and megaclubs, humble coconut vendors, and princelings of excess, where the waves roll forever, the mojitos are always cold, and it’s perfectly acceptable to stroll through the streets in a thong and your bare feet ’cause it’s basically like you’re still on the beach, bro.
Incorporated March 26, 1915, the City of Miami Beach is set to officially celebrate its 100th anniversary this week. And because SoBe locals never sleep (except in a $5,000 VIP cabana or under a palm tree), Mayor Philip Levine and his employees encourage the rest of the municipality’s residents to pull all-nighters for four days with a “100-hour, nonstop” centennial festival.
There will be car events, fashion shows, mass weddings, food truck roundups, and a Jackie Gleason marathon at the Great One’s former home, the Fillmore Miami Beach. But the party will peak with the Hard Rock Rising Miami Beach Global Music Festival, a big, all-day oceanside fiesta. And naturally, Gloria Estefan will lead the “Conga” line, along with Andrea Bocelli, Barry Gibb, Wyclef Jean, Flo Rida, and dozens of others.
Here is a ten-part guide to Miami Beach’s sunny, sandy centennial finale.
The original 305 pop superstar, Gloria Estefan showed folks from Kalamazoo to Kathmandu how to “do the conga!” And now, in honor of everyone’s favorite chain of barrier islands turning 100 years old, she’s begging us again to “shake that body, baby!” The City of Miami Beach wants to see that booty bounce.
He may be a big man. (The 58-year-old Italian stands six-foot-two.) But he has the voice of a little angel — well, if that cherub’s vocal range were between C2 and D5. C’mon, take abuelita to the Beach. She will weep.
Only one Bee Gees brother remains. It is Barry Gibb. Sadly, his siblings and bandmates, Maurice and Robin, passed away in 2003 and 2012. But he has continued flexing those beautiful falsetto pipes in their memory. And he’ll do so again for Miami Beach, the place that’s been the Bee Gees’ second home since 1975. Here’s to “Stayin’ Alive.”
Born in Havana and raised in Hialeah, Jon Secada is Miami to the bone. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the U. He sang backup for Gloria. He sold six million copies of his debut album in 1991. And now he’s gonna serenade Miami Beach with “One of a Kind” while you and a few thousand other locals handle back-up vocals.
This Argentine can often be found frolicking with his lovely wife and family in the sparkling waters off South Beach. The guy’s got great abs. He’s also got a knack for pristine Latin pop. Go watch him show off his singing skills. Maybe his abdominals too.
Sure, he grew up in Jersey. But as a native of Haiti, Wyclef says he has always felt at home in Miami. He has also spent many nights popping bottles on South Beach. As he crooned in Auto-Tune on his 2009 collaboration, “Rewind,” with our own Flo Rida: “Oh, how we were inseparable.”
Well, well, well, speaking of Mr. Tramar Lacel Dillard, he’s gonna be at Miami Beach’s centennial bash too. Fun fact: He is the celebrant who’s been officially charged with monitoring levels of “Good Feeling.” Also, he just might have better abs than Diego Torres.
When Miami Beach has a b-day party, the DJ better be a champion. So the only acceptable option was Irie, the one disc jockey on the Miami Heat roster. Dude’s got two NBA Finals rings. No, we’re not joking.
If Gloria Estefan and Tony Montana had a cute, hard-partying baby, its name would be Afrobeta. This twosome, consisting of Cuci Amador and Smurphio, is a neon hurricane of avant-dance, Miami pop, Latin freestyle, classic electroclash, and Giorgio Moroder’s Scarface soundtrack.
It isn’t a birthday bash in Dade County if a Marley hasn’t RSVP’ed. So thankfully, Ky-Mani, the second-youngest of Bob’s kids, has cleared his calendar. As Poppa Marley would say: “Happy 100th, Miami Beach, mon.”
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Miami Beach’s Centennial Beach Party and Concert. Sponsored by Hard Rock International, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel. 5 p.m. to midnight. Thursday, March 26, on South Beach at Eighth Street and Ocean Drive. Admission is free. All ages. Visit miamibeach100.com.