Concert Review – Bayside Rocks Music Festival

Miami’s Bayfront Park was the venue for the inaugural Bayside Rocks Music Festival. The event was a cultural blend of music, food, and people. I hope the festival is back next year, multi-cultural roots rock events are few and far between in South Florida. It was great to get out and enjoy the great vibes under the stars, with the magic city in the background.

The line-up
Soulflower Empress
Uriel Hamilton
Cultura Profetica
Marcia Griffiths
Steel Pulse
Bunny Wailer
Toots & The Maytals

The gates opened at 1 PM, with a show start time of 5 PM. Concert goers had the opportunity to eat, shop and mingle while dancehall, roots, ska and rockers filled the park.  The event was billed as a family event, and children were seen running and jumping around while enjoying the balmy weather.  Bayfront Park is a terrific venue, with stadium style seating and a large grassy area for blankets and lawn chairs.

When it comes to selecting a place to eat at concerts or festivals, I am always disappointed by my choice of vendor. This time,  I received a recommendation to try Cliff’s restaurant stall at the festival. I arrived hungry and decided to try out Cliff’s before the crowd got thicker. I ordered curry goat, it came with rice and peas and steamed veggies. Thanks to Cliff, this was the absolute best food I have ever had at a festival. Cliff’s restaurant is located in Miami, I will be sure to keep an eye out for them again.

The band Midnite opened the show. They are a roots reggae band from St Croix, those of us who arrived early enjoyed the pulse, vibe and electricity of this talented band.  Expect to hear more from them in the future,  Other notable performers were; Bootleg,Soulflower Empress, Uriel Hamilton and Cultura Profetica.  I enjoyed Uriel Hamilton the most. His voice was smooth as silk. I hope he gets hooked up with good management, and achieves some level of success. 

Cultura Profetica is a ‘roots reggae’ band from Puerto Rico. There sounds were more jazzy than reggae, and all the songs sounded alike. If it were reggae, they would have performed all songs off the same dub plate. They had a sizeable following in attendance. This was the first reggae show in Miami that I have seen such a large Hispanic representation. Usually there are one and two here and there, it was nice to see and be part of this mix. I expected them to leave after Cultura performed, but they hung around and danced out the evening.

Marcia Griffiths, how does she do it? 40 plus years in the business and she looks like a young 40 something.  As always, she wowed the crowd. Her stage presence, jokes, and her overall nice vibes make her performance a special treat. I didn’t know Marcia Griffiths had a tSalented son. He was part of her back-up duo and then he sang Beres’ lines in the songs Marcia and Beres usually sing together.

Steel Pulse and Toots were the final two acts.  Steel Pulse delivered roots reggae with a message. They sang songs of spirituality, politics and the daily struggles of life. The crowd saluted them with rousing ovations after each number. Toots was the closing act for the show. Park ordinance dictates all events must end by Midnight, although the show started on time, the production team did a poor job managing time.  Each of the main acts had their own band, which meant five band changes.  There was an excessive amount of intermission time, which lead to Toots taking the stage at 11:45 PM.

The headliner was given 15 minutes to perform and asked to sing three songs. This was the only downer of the evening. Toots made the most of his abbreviated stage time, he wowed the crowd with three of his biggest hits; 54-46, Sweet and Dandy and he closed the show with Pressure Drop. He left the stage with the audience screaming for more.

 Bayside Rocks Music Festival, I hope to see you there in 2011 and many years to come.

Festival Summary Review:

Crowd – A++
Great family crowd, nice mix of people, everyone well behaved, nice vibes all around

Set Changes – D
Too many set changes, too long between sets, poor time management

Acts – A
Great performances by all acts. Nice cameos for the up and coming artists. Marcia Griffiths and Toots were my favorites.

Overall Concert – B
Great event. Well promoted and planned, especially for an inaugural festival. I am definitely looking forward to next year’s show.