Concerts

Rolling Loud Festival Promises to Do Better This Year

Last year, Dope Entertainment's inaugural Rolling Loud Festival was a shitshow. Though the impressive lineup included hip-hop heavy hitters such as Action Bronson, A$AP Ferg, Juicy J, and Schoolboy Q, the festival was plagued by negative forces both in its control (production, planning, and customer service) and out of its control (rain that flooded the floors of Soho Studios).

Sadly, expectations were not met, and Rolling Loud was not as enjoyable as most attendees expected. It seemed like it rained more that day in South Florida than it does during hurricane season, causing delays in performances on the main stage, frizz to freshly done hairstyles, and damage to everyone's kicks. But this year, cofounders of Dope Entertainment — Matt Zingler and Tariq Cherif — say the second-annual Rolling Loud Festival will be better than last year's.

To start, the two have a stronger plan to deal with inclement weather. Last year, thanks to the rain, a few independent artists didn't get a chance to perform, sets on the main stage were pushed back, and everyone was just soaking wet — and not in a good way. But Cherif says that this time, they'll have a tent to end all tents. "We're bringing in a structure so big, I wouldn't call it tent," he says.

Security will be beefed up too, Cherif says. "We're using the same security and ticketing company as Ultra to ensure entry and exit will be a lot smoother." Zingler and Cherif are confident that the long lines that plagued last year's fest won't be an issue in 2016. Inside, performances will run smoother too, they hope. "The stages will have alternating set times so people will have plenty of time to get something to drink, use the bathroom, and meet up with their friends between each set."

But perhaps the most painful issue at the first Rolling Loud was the sound quality. It was sludgy and barely audible. Schoolboy Q even addressed it during his set in a fit of frustration. "I don't know what's going on with production, but they crushing my whole vibe," he told the crowd. Zingler and Cherif agree that the production last year wasn't the best. The two say they have taken steps to ensure that problem doesn't happen again. "The sound will be much better, and the visuals will be better than last year. The production overall will be better quality," Cherif says.

We're eager to give Rolling Loud the second chance it deserves. When you're dealing with first-year festivals, shit happens, and that's just a fact of festival life. But if there's one genre of music in Miami that needs a strong ally, it's hip-hop. Here's hoping Rolling Loud can be that ally.

Rolling Loud Festival with Future, Young Thug, and others. 5 p.m. Friday, May 6, and noon Saturday, May 7, at Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-0371; manawynwood.com. Tickets cost $100 to $10,000 via rollingloud.com.


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Cristina Jerome is a freelance music writer and event producer based in South Florida. She spends her time listening to R&B and making purple flower crowns. Follow her work on RnBae.com.