When it comes to spring music festivals at Hard Rock Stadium, Rolling Loud tends to get all the attention. It's flashy, chaotic, and controversial. But there's something to be said for Jazz in the Gardens. The low-key two-day gathering has consistently put together a respectable lineup of performers from the worlds of jazz, soul, funk, R&B, hip-hop, and other genres. In 2019, the fest brought out the likes of Brandy, Lionel Ritchie, Blackstreet, and the O'Jays.
That's not bad, but for 2020, Jazz in the Gardens is bringing out the big guns. Mary J. Blige, H.E.R., Charlie Wilson, Jill Scott, and Kirk Franklin have all been announced as featured acts at next year's iteration of the festival, which is scheduled to take place March 14 and 15. Radio personality Rickey Smiley will host the event.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Blige is best known for R&B hits such as "Be Without You," which spent 15 weeks atop the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart in 2006, and "Family Affair," in which she boldly came out in opposition to hateration and holleration in this dancerie.
Meanwhile, H.E.R is a rising R&B star who began her career on Radio Disney and is now opening for the likes of Childish Gambino, Bryson Tiller, and, uh, Chris Brown. Neo-soul singer Jill Scott, who was featured in the concert film Dave Chapelle's Block Party, has a side career as an actress, while Kirk Franklin is best known as a multiple-Grammy-winning gospel star. Finally, Charlie Wilson was once lead singer of the Gap Band (of "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" and "Burn Rubber on Me [Why You Wanna Hurt Me]" fame) but is better known nowadays for his collaborations with Kanye West, who featured him on several songs on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and, most famous, "Bound 2" from Yeezus.
The festival was able to snag such name-brand talent thanks to a deal with Live Nation, the largest concert promoter in the world. The company is being investigated by the Department of Justice for its ownership of Ticketmaster, which gives Live Nation control over 80 percent of the U.S. market for concert tickets.
As for tickets to Jazz in the Gardens, they'll go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. this Friday, December 20, in case you still need to get your parents, your grandparents, your auntie, or even yourself a present. A presale is already open; those interested can use the code JITG2020 to gain access at Ticketmaster's website.
The following artists have been announced as performers at this year's fest:
- Charlie Wilson
- Jill Scott
- Kirk Franklin
- Stokely from Mint Condition
Jazz in the Gardens 2020. Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15, at Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens; 305-943-8000; hardrockstadium.com. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, December 20, via ticketmaster.com.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.