The Wynwood Yard is not long for this world, but before its gates close for good, the venue will host one "epic final weekend."
YardFest: Farewell to the Wynwood Yard is a three-day extravaganza aiming to celebrate everything that was good about the open-air space. From May 3 through 5, more than a dozen local bands will take the stage, led by headliners Xperimento, Spam Allstars, and Locos por Juana. There will also be plenty of food and partying.
"We're taking the weekend to put all the things that made the Yard unique into three days of programming," founder Della Heiman says. "We're going to have local live acts, fitness and family meditation for adults and kids, drum circles, and Sunday will have a Cinco de Mayo theme. All events are free and open to all ages as they normally are at the Yard."
Though food was Heiman's original focus for the Yard, music came to be the venue's uniting force during its three-and-a-half-year existence. "We tried to be accessible by curating diverse food operators that brought their own audiences who ended up sharing tables. Music made the space more welcoming," Heiman recalls. "It brought people together no matter who they were, what they were wearing, or their cultural perspective. We want to respect that diversity this final weekend."
Other acts set to play YardFest are Electric Kif, Juke, Nag Champayons, and the State Of. These are all bands Heiman had never heard of when the Yard opened, but she has grown to love them. "I had little knowledge of music in general, but especially the local scene." The headliners were picked because they're known to be wild draws at the Yard. "Locos por Juana did a show called Locos por Marley. There were so many people! When the cleaning crew came the next morning, they asked, 'Was Bob Marley here?' They couldn't believe it was such a crazy mess."
The Yard also hosted a couple of superstar performances that Heiman says she'll remember long after this weekend closes things down. "I got a call at 10 in the morning asking if Shakira could perform that night. Shakira tweeted she'd be playing. It got so crowded it was hard to get her in. She was supposed to play at 9. I think it was midnight before she played. Everyone got anxious. We thought people would think we made it up, but then she parked across the street and walked right in."
Months later, Chris Martin from Coldplay performed an impromptu secret show. "We had an artist who was going to open for Coldplay the next night, Izzy Bizu, who wanted a pop-up performance. Shakira had wanted a lot of people to show up [to her show], but Chris Martin didn't want people to know about [his appearance] until it happened. I couldn't tell anyone. For friends I knew who loved Coldplay, I told them to come to the Yard, but I couldn't say why. Because it was overcast, we didn't have a large crowd. He walked in, hung out at the bar, and was the loveliest person. He gave away tickets to the Coldplay concert to a lot of members of the Yard."
Now the Yard has one more weekend to make memories. Who knows — perhaps there will be more surprises.
Here's the final weekend's music lineup:
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Friday, May 3
Shira Lee & the Space Cowboys
Late night with TBD
Saturday, May 4
Live! School of Modern Music
Young Musicians Unite
Late night with WynCarib
Sunday, May 5
Anabel & Mounir
The State Of
Locos por Juana
YardFest: Farewell to the Wynwood Yard. 5 p.m. Friday, May 3, to 11 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at the Wynwood Yard, 56 NW 29th St., Miami; 305-771-4810; thewynwoodyard.com.Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.