Yup, we said it. The biggest music festivals in Miami are all, let’s say it again, the same. Genre? Ok, that’s different but we aren’t talking genres, we’re talking big picture. Date? Yes, that’s valid and venues, those are different too. What we’re talking about today is pricing, accessibility, and goal.
Ultra, Rolling Loud, and III Points (2019) ALL have price points over $300. I don’t care where or when you bought the ticket, there’s no way you payed less. To be honest, most of us payed more (if you’re lucky enough to go). To make the math quick, it’s $100 a day. Add drinks, food, weed, and all the extras you’re looking at $150.
We love to say that “we’re rich” in Miami, right? That we can afford anything? Try going to one of these festivals and tell us that you aren’t hurting after. We won’t believe you. No matter how much $150 is to you, $150 is A LOT of money for one day of fun. Yes, you get to see all these great acts that separately would’ve been $50 a pop. We understand that. But, and there’s always a but, these festivals have the ability, first of all, to make it cheaper. On top of that, they’re using the same venue for multiple days (meaning better pricing). You start thinking about that and well, you get upset. Just like we are.
To understand our frustration we have to look back at what makes music (and music festivals) so great. Music festivals started with the idea of bringing people together, plain and simple. It didn’t matter where you came from, what you did, what you were outside of the festival what mattered is that you were there to share a moment with people you knew, love, or if you didn’t know any, to share a moment with everyone (sorry for the run on sentence, we got excited).
From being a public gathering, we’d make the claim that music festivals have gone private. Staying in the 305, Rolling Loud has become the largest hip-hop music festival in the world. This year marks their five year anniversary. What has changed between year one and five? Price. Five years ago at Mana you could get a ticket for $50! Now we’re looking at $400 (with no single day tickets available). Ok, ok. The festival is three days, the names are huge and the venue/times have changed. Cool. I feel you Tariq. Our question remains: Why so expensive? Why aren’t their opportunities for underprivileged individuals to go? Why aren’t their volunteer positions? Internships? Anything?
For us it comes down to accessibility. Music festivals like Ultra, Rolling Loud, and III Points have the ability to change individuals lives. Their power is across all social media outlets, locally and globally. They need to take advantage of what they have, respect the culture of music festivals, and understand, ultimately, what music is. We’re not in the 1990’s in which blacks and whites couldn’t be in the same arena. Today, we have the ability to bring all peoples together and learn, connect, and grow. Our problem with music festivals and the world is something so simple yet complex: Why can’t we be the same? Why do certain people get to experience things others can’t? And, finally, why can’t we help each other, at least locally, grow?
UMAMI’s here to bring back the reason music festivals began. Woodstock and Monterey Pop Festival, to name a few, started a legacy of what we now know as “music festivals”. We aren’t bringing back Woodstock, it’s the mantra that we’re looking for. It’s not about the money (to a certain extent), it’s not about materialism, it’s about bringing people together for the love of music, plain and simple.