The Urban Beach Week revelers needed a rest Sunday morning. But by the time the sun went down, they were on their feet and ready to party.
The venue: the Best of the Best concert at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.
Reggae and hip-hop enthusiasts braved late afternoon showers, cramming the aisles and lining the walls. Some carried umbrellas and wore ponchos in the colors of the Jamaican flag. When the music started, they sang along and wound their waist lines to the beat.
“Hip hop and reggae together?” said first-time concert-goer Alyssa Savery, 17. “That’s the perfect combination.”
The concert ran late. Long-awaited artist Shaggy came on at 9:20 p.m., an hour behind schedule with a scarf in his native Jamaica colors hanging out of his back pocket. He was a crowd pleaser as he introduced his hit "Mr. Bombastic" with a heavy metal guitar intro.
"There's a party at Best of the Best right now," Shaggy yelled to a cheering crowd.
He and other reggae artist became a refreshing reminder of the contributions of reggae music, which in recent years has become an embarrassment for Jamaica as a number of top selling dancehall reggae artists from Vybz Kartel to Buju find themselves arrested and charged with everything from murder to drug trafficking, respectively.
"We've gotten such a bad rap these last couple of years," said Tracii McGregor, a publicist who has represented a number of reggae artists and represented Best of the Best Sunday.
"Reggae music has helped make Jamaica what it is," she added. "Jamaica is celebrating 50 year this year, and music is a big part of that. It is wonderful to beable to honor that here in this concert."
Mr. Vegas, a reggae artist, agrees. Before his performance, he plugged his new album "Sweet Jamaica," a tribute to reggae and dancehall.
"People go through obstacles, and these artists are no different," he said, wearing a lilac colored tailored suit. "But we want people to know the music is still there."
The party mood didn’t stop with the music. Thousands of concert-goers then streamed back to South Beach for a slew of after-parties.
The revelry rolls on Monday, Memorial Day.
More than 250,000 people are in South Florida for the hip-hop/rap festival known as Urban Beach Week. The event, held each year on Memorial Day weekend on Miami Beach, draws celebrities, hip-hop fans and revelers from around the country.
Over the past decade, Urban Beach Week has become known for its over-the-top parties and fashions. But past years have been marred by bad behavior and growing tensions between partygoers and police. Last year, Miami Beach police fatally shot a man in a car. Several people were injured by the gunfire, including a man who is now suing the city.
This year’s crowd has been more orderly than previous crowds, police said Sunday.
Seventy-nine people were arrested on Saturday – about 30 fewer than were arrested on Saturday last year, police said.
The total number of arrests was 228 as of Sunday morning. Last year, the figure was 244.
Officers said they removed 25 guns from the streets.
Some partygoers said they could feel a difference.
“It’s a little calmer because of what happened last year,” said Elizabeth Lopez, 22.
Cynthia Acosta, a Miami Beach resident, said police and fire departments were fast on their feet. Acosta had to call paramedics after her teenage daughter fell ill early Saturday morning. To Acosta’s surprise, they arrived in minutes.