Snarky Puppy and more brought back the funk at GroundUp Music Festival’s 2nd year in Miami


Snarky Puppy brought back the funk at GroundUp Music Festival’s second year in Miami, featuring international jazz and eclectic artists, delicious food options, and craft beer to compliment the cool tropical weather that only Miami Beach in February can offer.

The North Beach Bandshell offered the perfect venue for this one-of-a-kind, fully immersive festival by giving guests a beach side getaway riddled with three days worth of the most talented performers you can see live. The venue’s lawn area was decorated with dozens of hammocks beautifully hung from palm trees, many times giving guests the perfect place to nap or rest after a long, sunny day of jams.

Masterclasses and workshops hosted by talented GroundUp artists throughout the weekend gave guests a unique learning experience. On Saturday, bass legends Victor Wooten and Michael League hosted a bass masterclass. Wooten humored the audience as he shared wise words on finding your identity as a musician, and he ended the class discussing Curtis Mayfield’s simple but perfect bass riffs.

The festival was jam packed with talented musicians, making it difficult to choose which stood out. Jojo Mayer/Nerve gave a jaw dropping performance Saturday night with Mayer expertly leading the beat/electronic driven performance on his drum set. Saturday also featured rhythmic high-energy African drum music led by Weedie Braimah with special guest YouTube famed bassist Mono Neon, and a performance by Emily Estefan while her mother, Gloria Estefan, viewed from the crowd.

Robert Glasper headlined Sunday night with his experimental free jazz piano and hip hop infused originals and covers of songs by Erykah Badu, Radiohead and Nirvana. Special guest Gretchen Parlato joined Glasper on stage to accompany her mesmerizing vocals to the track ‘Weak’.

Late night shows at Miami Beach Resort and Spa gave both festival and non-festival goers an affordable late night music escapade and a chance for a more intimate experience to mingle with musicians and artists that played at GroundUp.

The festival was optimally planned since both stages flawlessly alternated between sets so guests had no chance to miss a performance. Fest attendees munched on deliciously diverse food prepared by celebrity Chef Michelle Bernstein, perfectly complementing the craft beer offered at the Beer Garden. The VIP SkyLounge provided an airconditioned getaway from the South Florida sun, private bars, and a beautiful elevated view of the beach.

Although Snarky Puppy gave outstanding performances all three nights, Sunday’s closing performance was heartfelt and emotional as Michael League bid goodbyes and thank yous to everyone. The crowd responded with an uproar of appreciation to League as he humbly tried to deny it. It’s no doubt that Miami needed a festival like this, and they are most certainly welcome back.

Coverage by Catherine Toruno and Photography by Ron Navarrete

Images may not be used, modified, or cropped without permission from Ron Navarrete or SoundBite Magazine. Please contact Ron Navarrete or SoundBite Magazine for use of photography

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