Fest organizer Pollen was already forced to reschedule its Ozuna-curated festival in Cancún planned for May, and it knows JamWorld could suffer the same fate. But Pollen feels that all signs point to JamWorld sticking to its May 13-15 schedule and helping usher in the safe return of music fests to Miami.
"We started planning in August," says Kirk Taboada, global head of Latin for Pollen. “The biggest hurdle has been the uncertainty. We wanted people to be able to book this without worrying, so if you can’t make the event or it gets canceled, you’ll get a full refund on the spot. That was the start of the process. Our second step was to figure out what was going to be open.”
ChocQuibtown's SlowMike and Colombian DJ Agudelo 888 are scheduled to kick off the fest Thursday, May 13, at the “Bienvenido a Miami” party, penciled in for still-shuttered LIV nightclub.
On Friday, May 14, Jam and his famous pals plan to hit the basketball court at UNKNWN for a celebrity game. Names being tossed around (but not confirmed) include Latin artists Luis Fonsi, Tainy, Miky Woodz, and Justin Quiles, as well as retired NBA baller Carlos Arroyo. Jam's baritone-voiced labelmate, Manuel Turizo, would perform that same day at the Carnival Pool Party at Pharrell and David Grutman's Goodtime Hotel on South Beach.
A brunch is planned for Saturday, May 15, at the Wharf. Aftward, Jam closes out the festivities later that night with a concert featuring J Balvin producer Sky Rompiendo and "Pa Mi" singer Dalex at the Oasis at Wynwood.
The announced lineup, made up entirely of male Latin artists, was chosen in part by Jam himself.
“It’s called JamWorld, so everything around the event is related to him,” Taboada affirms. “He has input on the lineup, food, drinks, and flyer. That’s what is unique about this. Nobody has done a curated Latin [music] travel experience before.”
The priority for Pollen is selling travel packages, which include a three-night hotel stay in Miami. (Party-only passes are expected to go on sale this week.) Pollen has a similar J Balvin-curated travel experience planned for September in Las Vegas that has already sold out.
But there's a big difference between hosting a music festival in September, by which time much of the population is anticipated to have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and hosting a fest in May. Coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations are down in Florida, but cases have been rising, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
How will JamWorld make safety a priority and not just something that looks reassuring on paper?
“We’ll take temperatures, make hand sanitizer available and require masks, even if there is no [Florida] mask mandate,” says Taboada.
A COVID test and/or vaccine card, however, will not be required. “Not everyone will be able to get a vaccine when they want to,” Taboada explains.
Besides JamWorld, Jam is bringing La Industria Bakery & Cafe to Miami this spring. The Bayside Marketplace brunch spot is said to be ready to open but has been waiting on the necessary permits. You could understand if the "Fan de Tus Fotos" singer was a little stressed these days, particularly with the uncertainty surrounding JamWorld, but Taboada insists that's not the case.
“Nicky is an easygoing guy,” Taboada says. “From our talks, he feels it’s out of our hands. We’ve done our part. Now we wait and see how it plays out.”
JamWorld. Thursday, May 13, through Saturday, May 15, at various locations. Tickets cost $279 to $1,099 via pollen.co.