As y’all are well aware by now, I’m in love with GrassRoots at Shakori Hills. Well, I finally decided to experience GrassRoots at another location, the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Miami. While the Virginia Key festival is still getting off the ground, it’s still every bit as magical as Shakori.
As I have never been to Miami before, I am a little out of my element trying write about the local music scene. There are so many amazing musicians in Miami, Grassroots seems to try and keep it a rather local festival. It seems about 80% of the bands are Miami residents. While the rest are from Ithica, NY (GrassRoots first home) or have preformed at Shakori in the past. For me, this made for a great mix of music. There were bands I knew and could identify with, but I also was able to get a good taste of Miami music.
The festival lineup boasted a wide range of music from Miami. There was a heavy Latin, Cuban, jazz as well an Afro-Cubin and reggae influences. My personal favorite Miami set was Suénalo (featured image). I haven’t looked up what genre they consider themselves to be, but to me they felt like a Latin, jazz, hip-hop, rock band. Their sound, at times, was so full that it was almost overwhelming, in that particularly complex jazz style. But the sounds were just distinct enough and pure enough that the beauty was not lost in the chaos. To me, it represented the joy and order one can find wandering through this seemingly unruly world.
Virginia Key GrassRoots didn’t just highlight the ethnic side of Miami, it also put some of the night life on display. Several DJ’s and electronic performers gave us a break from the salsa grooves and got us moving in a completely different way. Otto Von Schirachand Afrobeta kept the party going late saturday night.
The oddball of the weekend was also one of my favorite acts, Bella’s Bartok. The best way I can describe their style is Pirate Gyspy Punk. It’s a very rare band that can bring more energy than these guys do. Coming in from Massachusetts with no prior connection to the Grassroots family, I very much hope to see them at Shakori in the future.
Even though I always love the music at a GrassRoots Festival, it’s not really the reason I can’t help but keep going back. I only had two loose acquaintances attend the festival at the beginning of the weekend. Even still, I felt at home on that little Island off the cost of Florida. I made a lot of friends in the three days I spent there. And I’m sure I will keep up with them for many years to come. On top of these great friendships, I was able to experience healing both physically and spiritually. It’s nearly impossible for me to leave such an intentional space without learning a thing or two that will help me on my quest to better my life. That’s what makes GrassRoots magical to me.
If you love Shakori Hills, music, tropical beaches, or good people, then you should definitely treat yourself to a Maimi vacation and come chill with us next year.
Dont forget to check out the photographs below the sample playlist I put together.
Juan Turros of Suénalo
Mike Suave of the Blind Spots
The Blind Spots
Sofy Encanto of Elastic Bond