Rolling Loud, a weekend-long hip-hop festival expected to draw close to 40,000 a day to Bayfront Park next month, will go on as scheduled after a political dustup threatened to cancel the event.
Board members of Miami’s Bayfront Park Management Trust voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a use agreement for the festival, which would have faced cancellation had the vote gone the other way. Millions of dollars rode on the decision, since festival organizers — after securing a use agreement back in December — had already booked entertainers, sold tens of thousands of tickets and advertised around the world.
“I feel like I got acquitted for a crime, and I know I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s crazy,” Tariq Cherif, festival co-founder, said after the vote. “We should have never had to go through this,”
Cherif, whose Dope Entertainment launched Rolling Loud three years ago in Miami, took to Periscope to broadcast the news immediately after the vote.
“We won! They not shuttin’ nothin’ down. Ya heard?”
A Dope Entertainment affiliate confirmed the event’s move and expansion to Bayfront with the park’s governing trust back in November. With the expansive park at their disposal, they attracted a lineup that includes some of hip-hop’s biggest performers, including Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels and Migos, and sold more than 30,000 tickets.
But last month, Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo, the chairman of the board that governs the park, complained that the park’s now former director never brought the agreement to a vote, and questioned whether the board would have endorsed the event given its large crowds and impact on downtown. Shortly after, Carollo called for Tuesday’s special meeting, which he described as a necessary legal step since the laws that govern the park require that any contract be approved by the board.
The vote went quickly, with little discussion save a few changes to the contract limiting when the festival can conduct sound checks and requiring that the festival increase its investment in off-duty police and firefighters to nearly $800,000. Rolling Loud will go on as scheduled, May 5-7.
After the meeting, Carollo said the Trust needs to have a deeper discussion about the large downtown business and residential community that has built around the park over the last 15 years, and whether that should change the use of the park.
The park, located on the bay next to Bayside Marketplace, has hosted events for nearly 100 years and is currently host to an amphitheater booked through Live Nation. But the recent influx of residential condos and downtown businesses has created new friction, and questions about whether the park’s governing laws prohibit the sale of alcohol during large events like Ultra Music Festival and Rolling Loud.