This summer has been one of Miami's busiest in a long time. Yet some music fans still utter the same bullshit: “There’s nothing to do.” Well, that’s because they're unwilling to do a little leg work.
So listen up, suckers: South Florida’s music scene is nothing like the art one, which quiets considerably during the summer because the big dance is in the fall and winter. This is to some degree because the weather here appeals to northern and foreign entities that deliver Art Basel Miami Beach. They have now made this an art town.
Before all of this, South Florida was a music mecca. From the jazz of the Beaches to Overtown’s pre-I-95 soul vibes to the Caribbean and Latin rhythms of our immigrant communities to the niche genres like metal and punk that thrived due to geographic isolation — this tip of the dong has always enjoyed a strong sense of musicality.
Is the summer a drag? Sure, it’s hot, it’s humid, and it's rainy. When in hell did that ever keep you from leaving the house? South Floridians party recklessly during hurricanes; we hardly need an excuse to get out and jam. So in essence, you don’t suck. Maybe you’ve fallen into the trappings of this nothing-to-do ideology. There is stuff to do!
Alba Rubio, one of the organizer of Endless Summer, inspires with this quote: “Summer is the quiet time where you can take advantage of putting together a good show. With school out, you also get a lot more people willing to come out for the night."
She’s right. But before we get to that, let’s look at what has happened thus far. U2, Sir Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, and Chance the Rapper have already graced our stages. Logic, Kendrick Lamar, Blondie, Garbage, Guns N’ Roses, Macy Gray, and Ed Sheeran (fresh from ruffling some feathers on Game of Thrones) are slated appear through August. So on the big-name list, there’s plenty.
And like Rubio said, locals have been picking up the slack. Jazz lovers can check in on any of Kimberly Chmura’s KCC Productions, which have kept jazz going in South Florida for a long time through an impressive blend of local, national, and international talent. There is no shortage of solid indie happenings at Gramps, Churchill’s Pub, and even breweries such as Lincoln’s Beard and MIA.
There’s even fun and sorta wacky programming. Mad Cat Theatre’s Mad Cat Live! is an interesting retelling of music that introduces albums of old “into the current context.” This summer, the theater company will tear through the Eagles’ On the Border, with local heavies Jim Camacho, Nabedi Osorio, Darren Bruck, Fritz Dorigo, and Erik Fabregat bringing it to life. And have you been to the Arsht Center yet? Or the Fillmore? But you’ve lived here a long time? C’mon!
For all of the big-ticket items that come through, there are plenty of cheap and maybe even free events. It’s always been like this. Maybe we didn’t notice it as much before because of the ancient technology — anyone remember passing out flyers? But in any case, it is certainly a lot better these days. There is plenty to do music-wise in South Florida during the summer. Did we mention Miami Girls Rock Camp? Start 'em young!
There’s no excuse. Music here is alive and well. It's happening every day. And it’s probably awesome. For every place mentioned in these paragraphs, there are more doing it. If you don’t believe it, check back here frequently. Lord knows we’ve been telling you for years.
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