Having a festival dedicated mostly to rock and indie music in the heart of Miami is a major breakthrough for the city.
For years, rockers and pop acts have lamented that Miami lacks adequate live venues for their music. While other music meccas like Los Angeles, New York, Austin and Nashville boast hundreds of venues of many sizes, Miami’s rock scene has, of late, largely lived at the Filmore (another Live Nation venue, in Miami Beach) and nowhere else.
The Amphitheatre, an open-air venue by the Bay that seats 2,600 (plus a lawn for about 3,500 more), will serve as another alternative in Downtown Miami. It’s located in Bayfront Park, the current site of Ultra.
“South Florida in general was hit hardest by the recession and the housing crisis, and we’ve come back strong, whether in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach or Boca Raton,” says Neil Jacobsen, president of Live Nation Fl.
Live Nation entered into a deal with Bayfront eight years ago, when construction was at its peak in South Florida. When the recession hit, activity stalled. Now, Downtown Miami, where the Amphitheatre is located, is living a major renaissance with new buildings and hotels sprouting up at a steady clip. The time was right to launch a festival, says Jacobsen.
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For 2015, plans call for an initial nine to 10 shows that may expand to 14, an eclectic lineup and prices as low as $25.
“We want to appeal to a wide demographic so everyone can experience the outdoor experience,” says Jacobsen. Traditional amphitheatres typically seat 15-20,000. "This is kind of unique," he adds.