As I sit here, having just finished preproduction for tomorrow’s Buskerfest Miami Street Performance Festival 2015 and enjoying a delicious beer (Stay-Puft Porter from JWakefield), it seems like a good time for reflection. It was just three years ago that Buskerfest Miami was born in a very random community meeting and here we are, about to throw our biggest festival yet with over 45 local performance groups participating, an absurd number of volunteers pitching in and with the support of dozens, LITERALLY dozens of community organizations. Not bad for a toddler!
None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of some very devoted individuals (I’m looking at you Amy San Pedro, Monica Soderman, Eddie Padilla, Chris Sopher and Gary Ressler!), but there’s absolutely no way it could have happened if Emerge Miami had not been an early supporter of the project. From the drop, Emerge has been ready to contribute in whatever way possible. From promotions, to fundraising, to volunteering – Emerge Miami has been a big part of the Buskerfest Miami’s evolution. Cheers to them for continuing to do good when good needs doing.
I won’t bore you by repeating all the awesome features of this year’s festival. If you’re reading this, you’ve no doubt been bombarded with that stuff all day. Instead, I want to share one reason this project is so important for me. I’ve lived in Miami for almost 10 years. It’s been a tumultuous relationship, but like anything worth pursuing, it’s also provided many wonderful moments along the way.
Miami is changing at an incredible clip. Large swaths of the urban core are up for the highest bid and some of our most prominent cultural meeting houses (Tobacco Road, Grand Central, The Stage, Vagabond etc. etc.) have become victims of “progress.” You know what keeps me in Miami? It’s not the empty promise of Miami Worldcenter or the megamall or Beckham’s stadium or any of the ridiculous developments on the horizon. It’s the people and artistic culture that are hear NOW and unique to our melting pot. It is our responsibility to insure that culture is properly recognized and preserved because it is the most important thing. It is what defines us and makes us whole. Buskerfest Miami is our way of pushing that agenda forward.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you tomorrow in Downtown Miami. For more on the festival visit BuskerfestMiami.com.
Justin and the Buskerfest Team