Trap Circus Wants to Be the Cure for the Common Festival

Cardi B
Cardi B Raven Varona / Atlantic Records
It can be daunting to launch a festival in Miami. The Magic City is one of the most heavily saturated entertainment markets in the United States thanks to the tourism industry, and people are rarely wanting for things to do and see.

So when Invite Miami and WRLD Marketing & Entertainment, two Florida-based event promoters, decided to debut Trap Circus, a one-day hip-hop festival taking place the day before Thanksgiving in Wynwood, they knew they had to come out swinging. Somehow they nabbed the biggest new name in the game.

“The main overwhelming thing is that everyone is superamped for Cardi B,” says Robbie LaRoche of WRLD. “They’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, we’re going to this!’ and they tell all their girlfriends.”

Both promoters wanted to book the bodacious rapper, whose smash hit “Bodak Yellow” is a takeoff of fellow Trap Circus headliner Kodak Black’s “No Flockin,” not only because of her status as an up-and-coming talent but also because of their genuine desire to see more female performers onstage, which has been a problem for music festivals. For instance, in the initial lineup for this year’s Rolling Loud, held at Bayfront Park in May, only three performers were female, and all were listed at the bottom of the bill.

“Did they have three women?” says Jake Inphamous of Invite Miami, whose company often puts on events at Heart Nightclub. “I didn’t think they had anybody.”

Inphamous says that the success of female-driven promoters and events in Miami also influenced the decision and that having more women in the lineup makes Trap Circus more authentic to the city. With those sentiments in mind, they’ve snagged not only Cardi B but also Jamaican rapper HoodCelebrityy and DJ Camgirl, as well as others.

The group has organized an impressive roster of up-and-coming artists from Miami and beyond. Hyped national acts such as Rich the Kid, YFN Lucci, and will share the stage with noted locals like Zoey Dollaz, Ice Billion Berg, and South Florida superproducer Ronny J. Plus, as if to cement Trap Circus' status as a festival with its ear to the ground, the promoters have asked one of the biggest tastemakers in contemporary rap, Adam22 of the podcast No Jumper, to host and MC the event.

“Adam has been here,” Inphamous says, “but he’s never actually done a No Jumper type of event here in Miami. He’s got a good reach. Obviously they’re more West Coast, but I think it’s really cool to be the first one to bring them over.”

Beyond showing they have their fingers on the pulse of hip-hop, the organizers also aim to tackle a common problem with Miami festivals: There’s usually much to see but not enough to do.

“It’s all stages, you know?” Inphamous says. “You go to a stage, you watch the show, it’s awesome, it’s great, it’s perfect, but there’s not really much to do... You go there and you stare at the stage.”

True to its name, Trap Circus will be not only a music festival but also a carnival. Attendees can expect rides, including a 60-foot Ferris wheel, games such as squirt-gun racing and ring toss, cotton candy machines, clowns on stilts, and perhaps even a sword swallower or two. The group also plans to hire local street artists to paint murals around town.

“We don’t want it to just be you come, you stare at a stage for a couple of hours and just listen to people sing,” LaRoche says. “We want it to be an immersive experience.”

Trap Circus. With Cardi B, Kodak Black, Rich the Kid, and others. 1 p.m. Wednesday, November 22, at the RC Cola Plant, 550 NW 24th St., Miami; Tickets cost $50 to $150 via
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Douglas Markowitz is a former music and arts editorial intern for Miami New Times. Born and raised in South Florida, he studied at Sophia University in Tokyo before earning a bachelor's in communications from University of North Florida. He writes freelance about music, art, film, and other subjects.