This will be the second year since Death to the Sun has returned to the Miami music scene, its three-year hiatus having snapped in 2015. The concert's organizer, Ricardo Guerrero, has undergone a sort of phoenix-rising story himself during his quest to revive his music festival. He's never quite shied away from the public eye, having given his unapologetic two cents on the South Florida music scene in the past, which has earned him critics along the way too. But now he hopes to get some support from Miamians to help make the concert a success.
Guerrero sat down with New Times just in time to say goodbye to the summer and talk about this year's Death to the Sun and why he thinks Miami has his back.
New Times: It has been a time of comebacks for you, both musically with your project Rick Guerre and organizing the return of Death to the Sun. How are you feeling overall about getting back into the swing of things?
Ricardo Guerrero: I feel better than fucking ever, honestly. I definitely believe that I can only grow as I go. I don't feel weakened in any sense by the time off. Even having been involved in these things for so long, I still find myself learning constantly. I also find a certain peace knowing that this part of my life is never going to end. I will always be involved in these arts, because it's who I am, and I love it too much to ever let it go, so therefore time is meaningless. I see time off is a moment of contemplation, analysis, and strategy, a necessary part of the creative process. This part of my life will only end when I want it to, so I don't feel I am in any hurry to be a part of anything. I'll be here for as long as I want.
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You've created a GoFundMe page for Death to the Sun. Given your past criticisms of South Florida's music scene, do you have hope people will help make it a possibility — that they'll come together to support the underground artists?
Yes, I definitely believe that my city, my people, have my back. In the past, I've always been afraid to ask for help, as not to burden anyone with my ambitions, pressures, or personal goals. I am finally starting to accept some credit, and I am finally learning to ask for help. I do this festival for a greater purpose — not for self-gain — and I know my peers and supporters know that... Within hours of publishing the page, I had almost 40 shares and $100 in donations, so, yes, I am very excited to see the support I will receive.
You’re not playing on the lineup this year. Why did you decide to sit this one out?
I feel that what I do with Death to the Sun has nothing to do with my music, really. I have always thrown myself on the bills because I love to play, but it's just way too stressful to switch gears like that — to go from running this insane show to becoming a performer all of a sudden. I would much rather just focus on one role rather than trying to do it all. I have my own opportunities outside the festival, so I don't feel like I'm missing out. I just feel that I need to focus on a different role on that day, even if it means not sharing my music with people.
What is in store for this year's Death to the Sun? What are you hoping to preserve from the previous incarnations, and what are you hoping to improve?
I've reduced the lineup to only 15 bands, and I'm starting it a bit later. Last year was a bit overwhelming for everyone, so I'm trying to make it easier to swallow. Also, as a rule, I decided to only book bands that have never played the festival before, just to freshen things up. I'm hoping to improve turnout, to get more people there this year than last year. The formula remains the same — a plethora of short, amazing sets by local artists, free and open to all. Fun is the ultimate goal.
Death to the Sun 6. With Buffy, Dénudés, Heavy Drag, Haochi, and others. 3:33 p.m. Saturday, October 1, at the North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-627-5202; northbeachbandshell.com. Admission is free.