Miami Doesn’t Deserve the GroundUp Music Festival

If Miami were a person and you had to explain all the great things it has, one would say, “Well, it’s a good thing (he/she) is cute.”

Built on blood money that the great Billy Corben so eloquently encapsulated Miami’s accelerated and unnatural evolution in both the Cocaine Cowboys recent Netflix series, and 2006 documentary film.

This kind of growth tends to skip the history that is typical of deep-rooted culture.

We are an event town.

Miami is good at that, though.

I’ve been a Miami musician and live music promoter for pretty much this entire century.

I’ve seen some of the best musicians in the world play for nobody. Better yet, I’ve seen some of the best musicians in the world play impossibly good music to a room full of people paying zero attention….many, many times.

I’ve also seen the talentless thrive and be praised more times than I care to count. Sort of the musical version of Art Basel’s infamous banana taped to the wall.

So, when you learn there is a festival basically  put on so that people who really love music can be exposed to artists that they most likely haven’t heard of, but are great at their craft; I would say, “Nope. Not here. Not in Miami. That won’t work at all.”

But here we are, six years later, and I can’t wait for another edition of GroundUp Music Festival.

Michael League, the bass player of Snarky Puppy, conceptualized and curates to this day. Snarky Puppy, if you don’t know, plays each day of the festival. They have won four Grammys, in case you’re keeping score at home. The best way to explain Snarky, is picture 19-25 musical ninjas playing some of the world’s best Jazz fusion ever created.

I would describe some of the GroundUp bands to you. But why?

Go to if you really want to know. Or you can find the playlist easily on Spotify.

Better yet, just buy a ticket and come.

The North Beach Bandshell is a beautiful venue to experience live music.

All I can say is, GroundUp is here, and it’s thriving.

This festival gives me hope.

Hope for Miami. Hope for live music in Miami. Hope for what we, as a city, can become.

Or don’t go.

I’ll see you at the next Heat game, bro…..when they get good again.

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Eric Garcia

Eric Garcia is frontman of the Miami band Juke.