Miami Beach

South Beach music festival right after Art Basel? Plans delayed after city has qualms.

Fans at the concert celebrating Miami Beach’s centennial, held on South Beach in March 2015. Some members of the same production team who organized that event are involved in planning the Miami Beach Pop Festival, which has been delayed.
Fans at the concert celebrating Miami Beach’s centennial, held on South Beach in March 2015. Some members of the same production team who organized that event are involved in planning the Miami Beach Pop Festival, which has been delayed. Miami Herald file photo

Organizers of the proposed Miami Beach Pop Festival are no longer pushing to stage three days of concerts on South Beach one week after Art Basel this year.

Steve Sybesma and Paul Peck, co-founders of Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival, have pitched the idea of a three-day concert festival on the sand at various community meetings during the past few months. The producers envision a cultural and musical event that would feature a diverse lineup of performers, such as Bruno Mars, Elton John, Kendrick Lamar, Jimmy Buffet and Luis Fonsi.

They’ve been met with a mix of support from music lovers and resistance from neighbors who count on getting a break from traffic and huge crowds during that week in December.

As residents and business people began discussing the possibility of hosting 30,000 people a day for a three-day music and arts festival, officials at City Hall grew concerned about the timing and the public resources needed to have a safe and clean event.

“City staff has serious concerns that this proposed event would not be suitable for the time or location proposed, and would pose serious challenges in regards to staffing and securing the event,” City Manager Jimmy Morales wrote in a recent memo. “Furthermore, the community has expressed concerns around various aspects of the proposed event, including timing, location and sanitation plans, among other items.”

Producers still hope to stage the festival at another time of the year, which has not yet been determined.

On Monday, members of the team behind Miami Pop told the Miami Herald they concluded December is not the ideal month for the event.

“There’s many concerns obviously with all the activity that goes with Art Basel,” said Bruce Orosz, CEO of ACT Productions, which is working with two veteran producers to plan Miami Beach Pop.

Sybesma and Peck want to find better dates to hold the festival. In interviews and in public meetings, they’ve emphasized that they want to work with neighbors to make the festival a community-oriented event, including featuring local musicians and artists in the program.

“In order to pull off this kind of event, we need to listen to all of the input from across the board,” Peck said.

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