All eyes will be on Miami this weekend when Super Bowl LIV touches down Sunday, February 2, but it’s not just the big game that has the city abuzz. The next few days will challenge the likes of Miami Music Week and Art Basel Miami Beach for the title of most entertainment-filled weekend of the year, as myriad concerts, music festivals, and exhibits draw an array of artists to the Magic City.
Two of this weekend's major Super Bowl-related events — SuperFest Miami Live and Vewtopia Music Festival — recently joined forces and will be share space right in the shadow of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. SuperFest — which began January 24 and will run through Monday, February 3 — is the brainchild of music mogul and Slip-n-Slide Records owner Ted Lucas and sports agent Melvin Bratton, a former Miami Hurricanes running back and a member of the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame. The pair teamed up with the City of Miami Gardens nearly a year ago to begin planning the festival, which they hope will be an accurate and attractive representation of the the city.
“It’s an exciting time for the 305. Ted Lucas has a vision, along with his partner Melvin Bratton, to make Miami Gardens a destination city. To have the opportunity to put Miami Gardens on the map with this event is really exciting,” says John Harris, the assistant executive producer for SuperFest.
The community, music, and sports festival, which is taking place on a 34-acre site, was conceived as a way to create opportunities for locals to participate in the fun surrounding the Super Bowl. “Here at SuperFest, this is for the people," Vewtopia cofounder Marco Mall says. "A lot of the kids in the neighborhood are not going to be able to go to the Super Bowl Experience because it’s too expensive, but at least they can come [to SuperFest] and have a good time and be a part of the Super Bowl festivities."
The festival offers free-to-the-public areas such as a carnival with rides and entertainment for the whole family. SuperFest is also presenting Taste of Miami — a section incorporating about 40 local and national food vendors — and the e-sports gaming tent the Fan Zone.
In addition to these free happenings, there are an abundance of ticketed activities. The Entertainment Zone offers three nightclubs (Miami Nights, Viva Miami, and Gardens Live) spinning various genres depending upon the night. For diehard sports fans, the Miami Hurricanes Re“U”nion Party this Thursday, January 30, is a must: Attendees will be able to see some of their favorite Canes football alumni, including like Santana Moss, Lamar Thomas, Warren Sapp, Alonzo Highsmith, and Bennie Blades.
Perhaps the most anticipated of SuperFest’s offerings will be the inaugural Vewtopia Music Festival, happening Friday, January 31, and Saturday, February 1. The festival was founded by Ryan Burke — who’s behind the entertainment company Vew Live! — in collaboration with Mall, who owns Florida Film House and has assisted in producing popular music fests such as Electric Daisy Carnival.
The impressive lineup boasts more than 30 popular contemporary artists, including Cardi B, Migos, DaBaby, Chris Brown, Megan Thee Stallion, Nicky Jam, and DJ Khaled. The lineup’s size isn’t the only reason it’s notable — it also embraces artists from a variety of genres, such as Latin, hip-hop, and reggae. By making a concerted effort to prioritize diversity, the lineup beautifully reflects the distinct cultures and tastes of the people who live in Miami year-round.
“We decided to go with multicultural artists because we felt like it identified the city of Miami so well," Mall says. "[The organizers] are all from South Florida. We all grew up like this, [in] a melting pot [with] all types of people together, and that’s what we’re trying to show everybody that’s coming to our city."
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Just as Harris and Mall have emphasized their pride in Miami Gardens through their organization of SuperFest and Vewtopia, many Miamians feel a similar sense of satisfaction about hosting Super Bowl LIV in the 305. Harris says uplifting the city's communal spirit is the ultimate goal of this weekend's gatherings.
“What we’re trying to accomplish is really to give back to the community,” he says. “[We want] to allow folks that previously didn’t have the opportunity to experience the Super Bowl to get a chance to not feel like they’re being run out of their own city by tourists. [We want] them to enjoy the experience and have something to talk to their kids about in their later years.”
Vewtopia Music Festival. With Cardi B, Migos, DJ Khaled, Chris Brown, Megan Thee Stallion, Gunna, and others. Friday, January 31, and Saturday, February 1, at 19261 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens; vewtopia.com. Tickets start at $149 via superfestmiami.com.