The Best and Worst of Miami Music Festival: $10 Coronas and the Spin Doctors

A certain powerhouse music editor among onlookers watching Teepee tear the Miami Music Festival wide open.
A certain powerhouse music editor among onlookers watching Teepee tear the Miami Music Festival wide open.
Photo by George Martinez

After reading through nearly every blog entry addressing this past weekend's Miami Music Festival, it's a mixed bag.

First and foremost, credit Miami New Times/Crossfade workhorse Music Editor Sean Pajot for providing a ton of evenhanded festival coverage for dissemination throughout. Now in its second year, the fest faced plenty of criticisms based upon how the first installation unfolded (hint: poorly). Last month, County Grind narrowed things down to four chief concerns: the lineup, the layout, the venues, and the schedule. All four of these things need to be in some sort of working order for any music festival to thrive, and each probably has some room to grow. For posterity's sake, here's a selection of what went well and what didn't at the 2010 Miami Music Festival.

Best Panel That Didn't Happen: Did anyone go to the panels? It

seems like vocal MMF critic Will Lopez of Guajiro should have been on

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one with MMF organizer Irwin Kornfeld for the "How Music Festivals in Miami Might Best Reach Local Acceptance." More back-and-forth between the two here.

Screed of the Weekend: Miami Herald wasn't too keen on the choice to book the Spin Doctors as a surprise headliner.

Surely

with the amount of coin you're spending to fly in the Spin Doctors and

rent Bayfront for the night, you could have gotten a band who have had a

hit after 1992. Surely, you could have hired one of the many million

selling acts who have a connection with Miami, rather than hiring a

disconnected one from New Jersey. Surely, you must know that most of the

local media are on record saying that you are suspect at best, and a

cruel joke at worst.  Surely you know you needed to make a splash with

your headliner to give your sketchy, mostly pay-to-play event some much

needed credibility.

The Best and Worst of Miami Music Festival: $10 Coronas and the Spin Doctors
Photo by Robby Campbell

Top MMF Shows: This Miami New Times kickoff show at the Stage sounds riotous, and shouldn't bands like Lil Daggers be running ragged on a weekend like this? The Forward Motion Records showcase,

featuring Arboles Libres and Dreaming in Stereo at Tobacco Road -- a

place that regularly books bands -- seemed to go off pleasurably. No complaints from the Bright Light Social Hour/ArtOfficial gig at Transit Lounge. Sunday's hip-hop showcase featuring Ghostridah and Ramzez at the Miami New Times Bayfront Park stage seemed cool, but no Iceberg. "He was running two hours late, and the MMF sound crew made the executive decision to shut it all down."

Top Miami Shows With (Sigh) No MMF Affiliation: The Guest Lab's ideal version of the weekend featured these events, including Plains at Sweat Records. An overflowing Javelin show with Wynwood Art Walk attendees. A hipster-free Social Distortion concert. And Nitzer Ebb at Grand Central truly luring in Floridians from all over.

Biggest MMF Snafu: Regarding one of the most prominent shows of the weekend, the Vivian Girls at Gemma Lounge, Crossfade writes: "The CliffNotes: Beers cost $10, the club mistreated the band and its best friends, and no shorts were allowed." Victor Gonzalez's review also notes that "Vivian Girls' bassist Katy Goodman got shit for walking in with a

plastic bag containing granola bars she'd purchased a few hours earlier." Plus, only 40 or 50 people were in attendance to witness the sort of unifying lineup that can give these festivals momentum. For more on the Vivian Girls' displeasure with the night, read this.

Best Local Artist's Perspective on MMF: Part one, two, and three of an MMF diary by Juke's Eric Garcia runs the gamut of personal details (he'll drink Jäger or tequila, no biggie), as well as somewhat disturbing stuff, like almost getting turned away from his own showcase. In the end, though, he probably speaks for a lot of locals with his closing comments.

"All in all, I believe the Miami Music Fest can work. Look, I am tired,

hungover, and broke as a joke. I didn't get paid a cent this weekend,

and I feel like I got into three little car accidents. To my knowledge

not one connection was made this weekend to benefit my band. But I will

play it again next year.

If everyone backs off now and throws rocks, we'll only have a shell of a

live music event in Miami, proving us a big town not quite ready to be a

real city.

MMF not only can work, it has to work."

Best Postscript: Probably best to read all of the comments and view a ton of great photos at Antisteez. "Overall it seemed that awareness for the Miami Music Festival was... pretty nonexistent... Cutting through all the noise in our fair city is not an easy feat," Caro writes. The overriding message: Once the MMF finds a way to harness the city's existing noise instead of trying to block it out, this thing might actually work.

Upcoming Festival All MMF Organizers Should Attend: Art Basel is rapidly approaching, and Metric is headlining!


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