The Historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Miami, FL will open its doors for a second time to HOC Fest (House of Creatives Music Festival) in its third installment on Nov. 10-11. Launched in 2016 by Mishu Music, an event promoter headquartered in Miami, at the North Beach Bandshell, the two-day indie music festival’s inaugural program materialized in a raw environment centered around collaborative performances where big acts like Flaming Lips, Cold War Kids, MGMT, and Crystal Castles were in attendance.
The festival’s lineup this year, however, is laden with an eclectic group of burgeoning young talent from Cuba down to Argentina — some of which are based in Miami. While Miami is host, its archetypical urban scene is nonexistent; the festival’s core are niche experiences embodying a global spectrum of music with sounds traversing through indie-rock, electropop, dancehall-electronica, rock, experimental R&B, psychedelic funk, and more.
While HOC Fest hosted a scarce number of Latin acts in past years (XAXO, Buscabulla, Hunters or The Alps, Los Walters, Rawayana, Salt Cathedral, and Priavte School), this year, the stretch of the preserved island along the Atlantic will see a rise of Latin presence, priding on the novel sonic fusion it serves.
Acts like Jaialai, a shoegaze rock band with psychedelic undertones whose members are from Venezuela, El Salvador, and Cuba, Mr. Pauer, a Venezuelan DJ, producer and mixer and architect of Electropico beats, Delsonido, Colombian ensemble with multicultural dance nuances, Cesar Santalo, Cuban R&B singer who blends layers of hip hop throughout his tunes, Millionyoung of Cuban descent who blends electronic synths, with layered guitars and vocals, creating tropical soundscapes, and Argentinian Richie Hell, DJ, musician, radio host who serves as MD for Faena Hotel, will participate in this immersive cultural experience; an exemplification of the range of the local Latin artistry.
The team behind Mishu Music is also at the helm of Santo Domingo’s music festival Isle of Light, boasting a bevy of Latin acts since its inception in 2014 when the fest launched with a modest 1,000 in attendance. Four years later, its capacity has augmented to 3,500 spectators.
HOC Fest’s initial turnout of 2,000 participants back in 2016 is expected to cap around 5,000 of festival goers this year, continuing the trend of a local growing indie audience.
Billboard connected with a few of the Latin acts performing at HOC Fest this year. Here is their take on their upcoming performance:
1) This your first performance at HOC Fest. What is the significance of your involvement in an indie fest in Miami, where, it seems, urban culture takes center stage?
Jaialai (Venezuela, El Salvador, Cuba): It is indeed! and we are thrilled. HOC Fest has been building something beautiful in the past years and we always hoped to be a part of it. It is great how year after year, they put the effort on helping local bands, which is something that the music scene in our city needs.
Mr. Pauer (Venezuela): This is the first time Mr. Pauer plays at HOC and we are extremely honored and excited. I represent part of the Latin alternative music culture in the city and the Latin Electronic scene through my sound Electropico. The fact that HOC validates the craft of these sounds made in Miami is a major step into the homegrown music amplification having the opportunity to play with top acts from around the world.
2) HOC Fest brings a bevy of musical acts together. What do you appreciate about this festival?
Jaialai: Besides how well-balanced it is, we first attended the fest last year as spectators and I loved how it gave us such an easy-going vibe. Sometimes festivals get hectic and overwhelming, so it was nice how they paid attention to the space you have to roam around and the different areas in which you can relax for a bit and jump back into the action when you are ready. Oh, and the park is beautiful and surrounded by water! which is always a plus.
Mr. Pauer: I like the variety of acts involved in the festival and the setup is just perfect having the beach and sunset combined with music, food, art & crafts and in a condensed 2-day experience of why Miami is so awesome. I like the fact that you can choose how you want to experience the festival and enjoy the multicultural vibe.
Millionyoung (Cuba): HOC does a great job of bringing an array of musical styles from familiar and new artists, and it is great being able to hear everyone in a unique setting. Getting to listen to so many great bands and DJs, right by the ocean, is one-of-a-kind experience.
Richie Hell (Argentina): I love everything about HOC… it’s outdoors in a beautiful island in sweet November and only 10 minutes from the city. You also have a perfect balance between music styles and audience ages; and I always discover new favorite bands and get to connect with lots of other artists, since backstage areas are well organized and great hanging area.
Delsonido DJ (Colombia): Beside all the good music acts and all the food, HOC Fest has a great human team!
3) What do you expect to capture from the South Florida audience given its intricacy of musical diversity?
Jaialai: Well it is. But the music scene has evolved and there are many efforts to get it out of its shell. Since we started playing, we knew the challenge we had but surprisingly it got better and better very quickly. Miami wants good music and they want good acts to visit the city, so I think everyone that decides to come down here is going to get a better experience each time.
Mr. Pauer: This is a very exciting time for Mr. Pauer since I’ll be debuting new music, show and projection for my upcoming album since 2016. Is good to debut this at home before taking it on tour and enjoy our city in one of the best festival setups for music diversity.
Millionyoung: In Miami there’s a ton of overlap between the music scenes, and it’s not uncommon to see similar crowds going to check out a punk band, and then house DJ in the same night, so festivals like this really thrive here. Audiences in Miami are especially receptive to all kinds of music.
Richie Hell: South Florida audiences take the best out of me. This is the place where I can expand my limits at its fullest. I can be very eclectic in styles and moods and usually the crowd is very happy with this swing.
Delsonido: Dance and all good vibes!
4) How important is the cross-cultural program of HOC for you as a musician?
Jaialai: Very! being our band a cross-cultural one. We have two members from Venezuela, one from El Salvador and the other one a Miami native (with Cuban and Spanish roots). I would say that Miami is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the states and it is also a meeting point. It is the entrance to this country when coming from the South, so it is important that we embrace all the cultures that leave a legacy in this city and how it affects the sounds of the bands coming from here.
Mr. Pauer: It is very important to recognize the DNA of the city and be open to embrace the world sounds. Our city is an international melting pot. I’ve been in Miami for 25 years now and always as a musician. I love the challenge of finding ways to expand the audience and to keep the live music scene alive. Initiatives like HOC need all the love possible from the audience and the city.
Millionyoung: It’s always special to see bands from across the Caribbean, Central and South Americas live. Modern music has more and more overlap between genres these days, so it’s always interesting to see what spin people from different cultures bring to the table.
Richie Hell: Cross-cultural programs are for me the heart of Miami’s music/art scene and a great opportunity for us with Latin descent to show our music to people all around and still feel close to home. I am based in MIA since 2015 and I am very grateful with the chances I had to meet people from all over Latin America and the rest of the world and get to play with and for them.
Delsonido: To have the opportunity to be heard and at the same time discover new sounds and styles.
5) HOC Fest celebrates its third installment this Nov. Any words for readers (and Miami’s audience who has never attended the festival) you wish to share?
Jaialai: It is a different kind of fest! Which you will definitely enjoy. Nothing compares to being next to a body of water and nature and experiencing the amazing acts that are going to be visiting. Also, to have the opportunity to listen to bands you haven’t heard before and just being open to new stuff is something that our city needs.
Mr. Pauer: Don’t miss this music & art celebration with top acts from around the world embracing everything Miami has to offer. You will be part of Miami music history supporting HOC Fest and all the incredible music acts, restaurants, artists and vendors. This is an amazing 2 days music festival not to miss right by the water. Support locals!
Millionyoung: HOC is unique in that they focus on a more laid-back vibe, complimented by the beach front setting. The open space makes the weekend feel more like a refreshing experience than an exhausting one.
Richie Hell: Come with an open mind for music and your soul ready to connect with nature and friends.
Delsonido DJ: HOC Fest offers music bands from around the world, DJs, artisan vendors, food etc., everything you need to have the best time with people that you love.