Make Music Miami Returns on Summer Solstice

This article originally appeared in PureHoney Magazine. Check them out here.

In South Florida’s rhythmic epicenter, Miami, the cultural scene booms like the percussion ensembles the city is known for, and one event stands out: Make Music Miami. An offshoot of the eclectic Fête de la Musique in Paris, this global music festival ushers in summer solstice, June 21, with a local pulse all its own. Variations play on the same day in as many as 2,000 Make Music event locations globally.

It’s the Magic City edition of a worldwide happening that promotes kinship through music and vice versa. Founded in 1997, Make Music Miami calls on just about everybody to turn any sidewalk, park and alleyway into dance space, and gives them room to groove at live shows and participatory events scheduled across The 305.

“Make Music Miami is both an invitation to enjoy music and a call-to-action to make music happen in your neighborhood,” main organizer Justin Triegar, also known as the co-founder of Buskerfest Miami says.

There’s even an open-call “match making” portal on Make Music Miami’s website to find creative partners for new events. Anyone and everyone in Miami-Dade County can join the musicians, bands, dance groups and venues — both traditional and non-traditional — assembling under the Make Music banner. And whether or not you’re dreaming up an event of your own, you can also play along: Seasoned performers and  first-time strummers will find a place in this musical mosaic. And every Make Music event is free to attend.

Make Music Miami is not about big names and mammoth stages.

It’s about bringing music back to its roots, back to the people. But there are great acts on tap, with Miami Beach Bandshell as a flagship venue and many of South Florida’s grassroots stars already aboard. Jazzy serenader Etienne Charles, Vincent Raffard of the French Horn Collective, veteran punk rockers Mr. Entertainment and the Pookiesmackers, swamp troubadour Lone Wolf One Man Band, singer-songwriter Alexa Lash, and the funky triumphant grooves of Charles TRAD305 — with more TBA as of our press time — are just some of the attractions at a day to remember. Artists from as far afield as Atlanta, Georgia, will also be on hand to help make this a truly borderless affair.

“We want to empower artists and people who own or manage property to self-organize events for Make Music Miami,” Triegar says. “The festival is meant to demonstrate the potential of bringing live music to nontraditional venues like small businesses, libraries, public parks, urban centers — really anywhere that people can gather to celebrate the arrival of summer.”

In previous years, Make Music Miami has seen impromptu jam sessions springing up in parks, libraries, and street corners. One particularly memorable moment for Triegar was when a group of people gathered in Shenandoah Park carrying nothing but flower pots as makeshift drums. “It was a powerful reminder of the transformative power of music,” he recalls. It’s moments like these that make Make Music Miami more than just a festival; it’s a bridge across languages and cultures.

While Make Music Miami is all about live performances and community engagement, technology also plays a role. In past years, the festival has boasted a mobile webcast crew to livestream multiple events. This year’s streamcasting plans are still up in the air, but count on the Miami Beach Bandshell performances to be beamed to screens in real time.

As Make Music Miami enters its next chapter, there are changes on the horizon. This year marks the final hurrah for Triegar as conductor, with the nonprofit cultural events producer Olympia Arts poised to take the reins next year and beyond. But no matter who’s at the helm, the music will always play on.

So grab a friend and follow the sound, knowing that people around the world will be doing the same, because in a chaotic world we all need more chances to share in the music that lives inside each of us.

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Amanda Moore

Amanda Moore is the founder of Fovea Creative.