With eyes set on making Miami Beach an essential New Year's party destination, New York-based Union Square Agency and Miami's Orange Bowl Committee have partnered to produce the 2nd annual Orange Drive Miami Beach Music Festival. The fest spans three days of shows-Dec. 30 through Jan. 1-and will include performances by Cee Lo Green, Pete Wentz, Gym Class Heroes, Cobra Starship, Ne-Yo, Jermaine Dupri, Boys II Men, DJ Samantha Ronson and DJ Irie-taking place at an amphitheater built on Miami Beach alongside hotel-lined Ocean Avenue.
Last year's event, which featured Leona Lewis, Natasha Bedingfield and others, attracted over 10,000 visitors, according to organizers, including those who paid for standing room only tickets inside the amphitheater, which held 5,000 people.
This year, the scope of the event has expanded, most notably with a larger amphitheater that can accommodate 15,000 per night and live transmission on HDNet, the independent network launched by Mark Cuban. All told, organizers expect some 45,000 attendees.
"We want New Year's on Miami Beach to be on people's checklist," says Shawn Garrity, president of Union Square Agency, which produces and manages the event. The publicly traded company creates brands and events in the sports, entertainment, fashion and lifestyle arenas, among others. "Everybody has that picture of Times Square [for New Year's], but we think being on a beach with people from around the world, dancing and having this great entertainment is unique," added Garrity, who said last year's event drew fans from over 36 countries.
The notion of the Orange Drive Music Festival was born when the Orange Bowl Committee, which organizes the annual Orange Bowl Game, among many other events, approached Union Square about creating a musical event on the beach close to the Orange Bowl, which is played in Miami in early January. Keeping in mind that part of the Orange Bowl Committee's mission is promoting tourism to South Florida, Union Square proposed a New Year's celebration. "Obviously, that impacts tourism for many months afterward," Garrity SAID.
The variation on the event name-Orange Drive as opposed to Orange Bowl, had to do with creating a distinct brand.
While the inaugural Orange Drive Festival featured a Noon Year's Eve Kids Countdown sponsored by Radio Disney, a traditional New Year's Day event and a Latin event, this year's lineup is broader in scope and also more ambitious. And moving forward, because the partnership with the Orange Bowl is a multi-year agreement, it will encompass a 2013 edition that will also coincide with next year's BCS National Championship Game, which will be hosted by the Orange Bowl Committee on January 7, 2013.
"In 2013 we'll have the New Year's festival and then when the national championship comes here we'll have another major event," Garrity SAID.
Tickets to the Orange Drive Festival are being sold for individual days and also as a three-day package, with prices ranging from $64.20 for single day passes ($117.20 for New Year's eve) to $208.65 for weekend, three-day VIP passes.