"We realized there was a problem in Miami," says Jeremie Akiba, who runs Dementia Events with Jeremy Carpenter.
"All of the artists that come to South Florida cost an arm and a leg to go see. So we wanted to produce an affordable music festival for the masses, along with an opportunity of seeing a ton of up-and-coming artists mixed with legends."
The result: Lights Out Festival, the first in a seasonal series of one-day music fests catering specifically to Miami's varied EDM scene.
The event will take international headliners such as RJD2, Felix Da Housecat, and Felix Cartal, and pair them with some of Florida's best emerging talent, throwing all of those selectors into Soho Studios, transforming the space with next-level sound and lighting, and letting the town go wild for $35 a head.
"We're trying to bring a mixed group from everywhere," Akiba explains. The ultimate goal is luring the upscale LIV and Mansion crowds as well as the hip music heads who hang at clubs like Bardot. And to that end, the Dementia team has booked local DJs from every genre and scene to create a Miami music melting pot.
"We're bringing all the various artists to the same location and letting them play on the same stage as some of these bigger headliners so they can actually broadcast themselves to a bigger world."
There will also be professional breakdancers, an interactive LED dance floor, and totally ill visuals provided by the world's leading female VJ, Miami's own Psyberpixie. Plus, Dementia has teamed up with Laser Tech to deck out Soho Studios with more flashing, colored lights than Wynwood's ever seen.
"We're renovating the whole thing," Akiba said. "It's going to be just a jaw-dropping experience. You'll basically walk into a whole different world."
But the Dementia team wants people to remember that it's not all about sick lighting and gnarly jams; Lights Out Festival is also a celebration of Miami culture. And that's why Akiba and Carpenter plan to donate a portion of ticket sales to Miami-Dade public school music programs. They grew up in this city and they want to be sure to give back to the community while encouraging a love of music in the next generation.
"I've been in Miami for the last 18 years or so, and we really wanted to focus on giving back to the schools," Akiba says. "One day, hopefully they would be able to be on this lineup and be part of this festival."
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Yes, the Dementia partners may have created just another music festival. But they promise they've done everything in their power to set it apart from the numerous day-fests popping up around the country. They've gone to great lengths to make it all about Miami, for Miami, and all that's left now is for Miami to come out and dance.
"I hope everybody's prepared for an exhilierating show," Akiba promises. "It's going to be amazing."
Lights Out Festival. July 21. Soho Studios Wynwood Convention Center, 2136 NW First Ave., Miami. The festival starts at noon and tickets cost $35 to $70 plus fees via fla.vor.us. Ages 16 and up. Visit lightsoutfestival.com.