As booty-shaking beats rumble through the Wynwood streets, you hop out of a cab. You skip toward a supersize beer pong table. On the way, someone hands you a big puff of cotton candy.
“It’s free!” they shout, just before you see some good friends who just arrived. And what’s this? They brought that cutie you’ve been trying to holler at, and the cutie is waving at you.
What is this magic? It is the Greatest Day Ever!
Yes, the Brooklyn-bred block party, carnival, and music festival that made waves with its New York City debut in 2014 is back, and what’s more, it’s coming to the 305. What was once just a dream has become reality for mastermind Irvin Benitez — and since he likes to dream big, doubling down was his next move.
“There’s no better feeling than seeing an idea come into fruition, and that’s the ultimate reward,” Benitez says. “I think a lot of people spend time dreaming of things they’d like to do and ultimately don’t even go for it, but we went for it. We took a risk, and it panned out.” For Greatest Day Ever! Miami, Benitez has teamed up with media partner Thump, as well as party promoters Norma Now, YesJulz, Ashley Outrageous, Committee Entertainment, the dudes from the Void, and others to bring a fresh mix of hip-hop and trap-infused dance to LMNT in Wynwood. As for those booty-shaking beats, they'll be provided by famed Jay Z producer Just Blaze, Montreal bass star Lunice, L.A. trap producer Salva, as well as Brenmar, TWRK, Ape Drums, and lots of local DJs like DZA and Sean Bang.
“We wanted to make it a discovery thing,” Benitez says. “Perhaps you’ve not heard of somebody on the bill, but by the time you do hear them and check them out, you become a fan.”
Acts will play two stages: one in LMNT's outdoor lot and the other in its main building. Headliners will get the party poppin’ off outside. But when the city's noise curfew begins at midnight, the Greatest Day Ever! will simply move indoors.
However, music is only a small part of Benitez' master plan. He got his start in experiential marketing, which is to say, he created exciting environments in which to engage potential customers and keep them interacting on multiple levels. He applies that background to events like Greatest Day Ever!, in the hope that attendees will “go beyond just staring at the stage all day.” That's why Benitez' fest is also a wonderland of carnival games and prizes, free cotton candy, food and drink, fire breathers, stilt walkers, jugglers, magicians, a photo booth, giant beer pong.
“It just feels like everyone does most of their socializing digitally,” he says. “What we hope to do is create an atmosphere that makes it really easy to take the conversation from online to offline, in person. That’s the vibe and spirit of the party. It’s a fun atmosphere, so you should feel totally comfortable approaching someone, saying hi to someone, engaging in a game with someone. All those things should be natural.” From the jams to the booze, snacks, and novelties, Benitez and his team seem to have done a solid job of planning an epic party. But remember, it’s also up to you to make sure the Greatest Day Ever! is actually the Greatest Day Ever!
“Arrive early,” the festival mastermind advises. “Come with a positive mentality, positive vibes. Call up your old friends. Come in a crew. Just have a good time and hang out all day, y’know?”
The Greatest Day Ever! Miami. With Just Blaze, Lunice, Salva, and others. Presented by Thump and Mean Red. 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at LMNT, 59 NW 36th St., Miami; 305-572-9550; lmntartsmiami.com. Tickets cost $55 plus fees via eventbrite.com. Ages 18 and up. Visit thegreatestdayever.com.
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