After two public meetings with Miami Beach residents, the organizers of Miami Beach Pop Festival have delayed their proposal for the event. The three-day fest was originally planned to happen the weekend after Art Basel on the beach between Fifth and Tenth Streets and expected to attract 30,000 people per day. But because the dates of December 14 through 16 were too close for comfort and no permits had yet been approved by the city, organizers say they'll return with a proposal that residents might find more palatable.
"After careful consideration of the input from the community and key city departments, we have decided to move the proposed Miami Beach Pop Festival from the December period to an alternative time in early 2019," organizer Steve Sybesma wrote in an email. "We are listening to the community and we will present a highly organized, responsibly produced cultural event that enhances Miami Beach, something that residents will be proud of and enjoy."
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Sybesma, along with Paul Peck, organized the inaugural year of the Okeechobee & Arts Music Festival. Their partner, the Miami Beach-based ACT Productions, helped put on the Miami Beach Centennial Concert, whose success was a driving inspiration for Miami Beach Pop Festival. In an earlier interview with New Times, Sybesma said he hopes the Miami Beach Pop Festival can be a beloved event hosting the biggest names in music while also having a local feel. "We want to create a community-inclusive event, like Jazz Fest is for New Orleans, with rock, classic rock, jazz, Latin, and electronic music," Sybesma said. "I want this to be an event the city is proud of that continues for the next 40 or 50 years."
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At a public meeting February 13, a vocal part of the community opposed such a massive event on the beach. Beyond voicing concern about the crowds and noise, residents were worried the festival would leave behind environmental hazards such as debris and pollution.
Now the organizers will regroup to devise a plan that will put residents and Miami Beach officials at ease.