Over the weekend, the second edition of House of Creatives Music Festival took place on Virginia Key, bringing indie favorites such as Metronomy and WhoMadeWho, as well as beloved crossover acts Alt-J, Washed Out, and MGMT. Turbulent weather made enjoyment of the last act — the weekend’s most anticipated performance — difficult. Rainfall and the threat of lightning strikes forced MGMT to take the stage more than an hour after the band's scheduled time, resulting in a set that was as short as it had been anticipated.
Snags aside, this weekend was a solid showing for the nascent festival, and assuming House of Creatives returns for a third iteration, there’s a lot to take away — both good and bad — for future editions.
By 10:30 p.m. Sunday, there was no reason to believe MGMT would be able to take to the stage. Nearly two hours earlier, the band Washed Out was forced to prematurely wrap up its set midway through “Eyes Be Closed” because of rainfall and lightning. Long after MGMT’s scheduled time of 9:45, some festival attendees opted to seek shelter under the Red Bull and VIP tents, while others chose to leave. The weather sent mixed messages, dowsing attendees with pounding sideways rain at one moment before falling into an unsettling calm the next.
Those who stuck around either had their faith rewarded or left bitterly disappointed. Rushing onto the stage at promptly 11:08, MGMT lead vocalist Andrew VanWynGarden thanked the crowd for sticking around and promised to “play every song twice as fast just so we can get through them all.”
It didn’t pan out that way. Ultimately, MGMT was able to get through only four songs before the encroaching curfew and need to clear the stage required the band to wrap things up early.
Though it was an unfortunate situation, it was apparent the festival and band were doing their best. As anyone who was on the ground could attest, past a certain point, no one actually expected MGMT to be able to perform. The fact that the band was able to play at all — and dropped Oracular Spectacular gems “Time to Pretend” and “Kids” in the process — is a tiny miracle unto itself.
Winner: The Weather
Before the annoyances of Sunday night, Historic Virginia Key Beach Park was an ideal setting for a music festival. With less light pollution and a tranquil ocean breeze, House of Creatives offered a refreshing alternative to usual Miami music venues, where sweatiness and humidity tend to dominate.
Although it would’ve been nice to actually go on the beach, the festival’s proximity to it set a relaxed, calming tone that could be felt everywhere from the main stage to the food vending area. House of Creatives’ beach location sets it apart from other Miami music events, and if organIzers can be better prepared for inclement weather, the location has the potential to become a dominant and distinctive feature of the festival.
Winner: The Funk
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When it came time to throw down, several acts on House of Creatives’ lineup rose to the occasion. Saturday night, the back-to-back spectacle of Danish trio WhoMadeWho and English band Metronomy made for a thrilling two-and-a-half-hour dance party where both acts reveled in earnest goofiness and an insatiable desire to groove. Fortunately for them, Miami audiences excel in both.
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WhoMadeWho laid down funky, nutty bass lines between frequent chants of “Miami!” and infectious onstage antics, which had a solid majority of the House of Creatives crowd dancing alongside them. Running through favorites such as “Inside World” and “Space for Rent,” WhoMadeWho succeeded at working up a sweat before passing the baton to Metronomy. Performing a solid cross section of songs from its discography, the band pulled from more recent albums Love Letters and Summer 08 in addition to old favorites such as “Corrine,” off 2011’s The English Riviera. The show was as fun as they come and aptly set the stage for Alt-J’s performance.
Loser: The Weather
Saturday was nice, and Sunday was awful. There was little respite for House of Creatives attendees fleeing the random bursts of rainfall. VIP and regular ticketholders alike were forced to huddle for cover under what little shelter there was. And though the ocean breeze cooled a hot and heavy crowd, it frequently kicked up sand.
Thus far, House of Creatives has offered a smaller, more laid-back alternative to the grandiosity and hedonism of Ultra Music Festival and III Points. And as is natural for a new festival, the infrastructure isn’t as developed. Going forward, however, there ought to be more contingencies for disruptive weather, whether in the form of more covered areas or easily distributable ponchos. Such is the cost of doing business in South Florida.
Loser: Ride-Sharing Apps
If you had to call Uber before the festival had properly ended, the bottleneck at the entrance to Virginia Key Beach Park was a nightmare. Service fees were disgustingly high, and there was only one entrance. Whatever needs to be done to remedy this problem next year — assuming there will be another fest held in the same place — it should be a top priority for organizers.