Miami Beach-based ACT Productions, which worked with the City of Miami Beach to produce the City’s Centennial Celebration in March 2017, in partnership with concert producers Paul Peck, Steve Sybesma, and Don Lockerbie, have expressed interest in bringing a similar three-day concert event, currently being called the “Miami Beach Pop Festival” to Miami Beach. The proposed location would be the Lummus Park beachfront and hard pack between 5th and 10th Streets, similar to the Centennial event area, with three stages for live music performances, bars, and concessions.
The Producers describe the event as a celebration of music, art, food and the City’s diversity, to feature top headline and local musical artists. Headlining artists suggested by the event producer might include: Arcade Fire, Bruno Mars, Dave Matthews, Hall & Oates, Elton John, Enrique Iglesias, Frank Ocean, Halsey, Jimmy Buffett, Juanes, Justin Timberlake, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Lionel Richie, Lorde, Luis Fonsi, Mumford & Sons, Muse, Neil Young, Niki Minaj, Phil Collins, Ringo Star, Robert Plant, Stevie Nicks, The Weeknd, and Zedd (actual lineup is still TBD). The festival would follow in the spirit of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, CA, the New Orleans Jazz Festival in New Orleans, LA, or the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, CA. The goal would be to have an event that is attractive to Miami Beach residents as well as potential visitors.
Anticipated attendance for the inaugural concert event is estimated at 35,000 attendees each day; with a total of nearly 100,000 attendees for the duration of the three-day festival. Additional activations would take place City-wide, in hotels, restaurants, and other venues. The estimated admission fee for the event will be $300 for a three-day festival pass.
Because of the large-scale impact of this proposed festival, the item was brought forward and discussed at the Neighborhood and Community Affairs Committee on October 27, 2017 and again on December 20, 2017 where the Committee directed the producers and staff to conduct community outreach sessions to garner public and stakeholder input on the proposed scope and event plans. The Administration conducted two public outreach sessions -- on February 7 and February 13, 2018.
On April 11, 2018, the Producers appeared before the City Commission to present alternative plans -- proposing the first or second week in November (rather than the initial proposal of the weekend directly following Art Basel). The Commission directed staff to further explore dates with the Producers, to fully vet the Police, Fire, Sanitation and overall Traffic and Special Events Plan, and to return to Commission with an update. The Commission further noted that all event-related costs would need to be borne solely by the Producers, and not passed along to the City to absorb (this includes any major road closures, Sanitation, Special Event Permitting, Police staffing, etc.). Producers were also asked to provide a resident public benefit associated with this large-scale event, and have produced a document detailing potential resident benefits including free and reduced tickets for residents, children, and seniors; a financial contribution reflective of a percent of ticket sales; and several others. The document detailing resident public benefit proposals is attached herein as "Resident Public Benefit."
Since then, the Administration has met several times both internally and with the Producers to review the proposed date and plan. The current proposed date is the second weekend in November, coinciding with Veteran's Day.
Administration has now fully explored all possible dates for the proposed concert, both internally, and with the Producers. Due to turtle nesting season precluding any major beach activity from April from April 1 through October 31, the only available date for this large scale beach activation is this newly proposed date of the second weekend in November. However, the Producers would have to obtain a State waiver in order to begin load-in in October, as that still falls within turtle nesting season.
The proposed schedule details load-in beginning on Monday, October 30, 2019 with show days on Friday, November 8, Saturday, November 9, and Sunday, November 10, 2019. The load-out begins on Monday, November 11 and is complete, per the proposed schedule, by Thursday, November 14, 2019. The concert hours would be as follows:
Friday: Doors Open at 1pm; Show hours 2pm-11pm
Saturday: Doors Open at 12 noon; Show hours 1pm-12am (midnight)
Sunday: Doors Open at 1pm; Show hours 2pm-10pm
One consideration regarding the proposed schedule is the close overlap between the SCOPE and Untitled art fairs which both use the exact same beach footprint, and which begin load-in on November 15. Were the Pop Festival to be approved with the suggested November dates, the beachfront area in question would be taken out of public use for no less than 42 consecutive days.
Further, the stressors on the City's transportation fluidity as associated with Art Basel and the satellite fairs will be extended through to the last week of October (overlapping with Halloween) and then through the earlier weeks of November.
The suggested weekend in November is not traditionally a low occupancy time for Miami Beach hotels. On the contrary, the average occupancy during that time period is 82%, with average room night rates hovering just below $300 per night. Therefore, if hotels are not willing to provide room block packages at lower room rates, or if the hotels are already fully booked, attendees to the proposed Miami Beach Pop Festival may have to find hotel lodging on the mainland, further necessitating a highly developed Transportation Plan.
After several meetings with Police and Transportation, the Producers have put forward a plan which indicates a closure of Ocean Drive, ride share, and Police controlled access on the MacArthur Causeway among other items.
Although the Police Department requested that the Producers consider scaling back from three days to two days for the initial year of the festival, the Producers have declined to do so, stating that this scaled back schedule will not fit within their business model. The Producers have proposed to reduce show hours by a total of four (4) hours; however, they have also indicated a new addition to the schedule whereby doors open one hour before show time on every day, thereby adding in three (3) hours which previously had not been indicated on any proposed show schedules, and ultimately lessening the impact of scaling back the initial four hours.
The Fire Department has been in review of the proposed site plan, and provided direct feedback regarding the need for more emergency egress to be added to the plan; the need for more detail on crowd management and life safety plans; and the need for consideration of Fire emergency access lanes throughout the footprint.
There is no question that music festivals can be wonderful components of the cultural life of a community, as well as destinations for tourist activity. New Orleans Jazz Fest is a perfect example of that phenomenon. Furthermore, the proposed music festival is consistent with the direction to activate Lummus Park with cultural activities and diversify the entertainment offerings. Finally, if successful, such a festival would be consistent with the desire to brand Miami Beach as a city of great art, culture and design. In fact, it is my understanding that the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the festival to include a component of international culture and cuisine in the festival. The policy question for the City Commission is whether the City wants to host another event that could have quality of life impacts on our residents.
The City staff remains open and flexible to working with the Producers to explore the proposed event, however, remaining details and solutions still need attention in regards to how potential timing, number of attendees, life safety plans, and large-scale event activity throughout the City will impact safety and security, traffic and beach access, and overall resident quality of life.
Since the September 2018 City Commission meeting, where the Commission directed staff to allow the producers the opportunity to put on a world-class concert and authorized the producers to go through the permitting process, the City and the producers of the Miami Beach Pop Festival have been meeting to solidify all required documentation needed to provide a safe, family friendly and quality event over the November 8-10, 2019 weekend. See attached Site Plan and Resident Benefit Plan.
During the City and producer discussions, the producers have requested that the City agree to allowing the producers to have a three (3) year agreement to produce the Miami Beach Pop Festival during a similar timeframe for 2020 and 2021 and they are willing to accept that the City Commission can review the event annually, after execution, to determine whether it is in the best interest of the City to allow additional activation. The three years will allow the producers to secure more prominent sponsorships and annual strategic planning. With the acceptance of this three year approval, the City Manager continues to have the sole authority to cancel that agreement at any time.