"We've done pools, clubs, rooftops, and even a beer garden," says legendary Miami DJ/producer Oscar G. But despite throwing two decades worth of ragers, "this is definitely our first time doing a drive-in."
At the beginning of lockdown, Miami's O.G. dance-music maven relished an overdue break from gig life.
"Rest and extra time eventually led to me hitting the studio," he says.
Aside from churning out new music and mixes, it has been a steady diet of Netflix and NBA playoffs.
But as local COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, Oscar G (AKA Oscar Gaetan) has been able to shift his focus back to the lifeblood of any local underground scene: parties. Along with a handful of close DJ friends, Gaetan revives his beloved Made in Miami party as a socially distanced drive-in experience on Saturday, September 19, at Dezerland Park in North Miami.
"The guys from [viral Instagram account] Only in Dade and I have been talking about doing something for a while," he explains of the impetus behind the experimental venture. "They presented this idea to me, and I thought it was a good fit, given everything going on."
The pandemic has hit Miami's music and nightlife communities especially hard. Even as restaurants, schools, and other cultural institutions slowly reopen and life settles into a revised normal, curfews remain in effect, dance floors collect dust, and the fate of the city's world-famous (and tourism-fueling) clubs hangs in the balance.
"It seems many are quick to discard the validity of what we do or how 'essential' it is," Gaetan laments. "As artists and DJs specifically, we're trying hard to find ways to keep our beloved craft alive during this time. This event is my humble attempt to connect with people through music, in a live setting, while keeping everyone as safe as possible."
So what exactly does a drive-in rave look like? Just like at the old-timey drive-in movies, partiers will tune in to the show via their car radios, and the whole set will be live-broadcast on a giant screen. Coproduced by Only in Dade and Oscar G's label, NYC-based Nervous Records, the first-ever Made in Miami drive-in party includes support from fellow Miami originals Cocodrills and Jesse Perez — "Friends that have rocked many parties with me," Gaetan says.
The main thing people can expect is a safe environment, the DJ assures.
"The goal is to give people a night out where they can listen to good music, have some food and drinks, and feel safe," he says.
In order to achieve that goal, the event's capacity is limited. Tickets will be scanned from attendees' phones in order to avoid direct contact. On-site food trucks will deliver directly to vehicles, with ordering instructions displayed on screens to provide contact-free service.
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Attendees will be asked to respect others by wearing a mask when stepping out of their vehicles and adhering to social-distancing protocols (for example, maintaining a six-foot distance in the restroom line).
But if you've missed dancing anywhere besides your living room, you'll be relieved to know that yes, ass-shaking at this event is permitted — in the immediate area around your car.
"The whole thing is out of the ordinary, but such are the times we're living in," says Gaetan, who envisions this Made in Miami party, like all the others, as a haven for disconnecting for a few hours with good music. "We're always looking to bring people these vibes, and hopefully, they continue to be receptive to it."
Made In Miami Drive-In Party. With Oscar G, Cocodrills, and Jesse Perez. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, September 19, at Dezerland Park, 14401 NE 19th Ave, North Miami; 786-590-5000; dezerlandpark.com. Tickets cost $100 to $175 per car (six people max per car) via residentadvisor.net.